Harry Travers and John Binns write for Fraud Intelligence and Euronews on SFO Barclays Execs Acquittal

Harry Travers and John Binns write for Fraud Intelligence and Euronews on SFO Barclays Execs Acquittal

BCL partners John Binns and Harry Travers’ article analysing the dramatic acquittal of all three senior Barclays executives last week has been published by both Euronews and Fraud Intelligence, discussing what went wrong with the case and why it matters for the SFO.

Here’s an extract from the article:

“One of the recurring issues with SFO prosecutions is the difficulty with ascribing guilt under English law to corporations. After a controversial flirtation with civil settlements, the SFO shifted its sights to lobbying for new laws to broaden corporate liability, and the use of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs). So it was striking that in this case, with Barclays’ denial of wrongdoing ruling out a DPA, the SFO chose to prosecute not only the executives but also the company itself.

That decision resulted in the SFO’s first defeat in this case, as the trial judge ruled that the company had no case to answer, even on the facts as the SFO alleged. The problem was that, while the executives had been given the authority to negotiate the agreements, it was not they but the committee, about whom the SFO had no complaints, that had had the authority to conclude them. That meant that the executives were not the ‘directing mind and will’ of Barclays for these purposes, and so the company could not be convicted by reference to their state of mind.”


This article was published by Fraud Intelligence on 02/03/2020. You can read the full version on their website.

This article was published by Euronews on 04/02/2020. You can read the full version on their website.

John Binns is a partner at BCL specialising in all aspects of business crime, with a particular interest in confiscation, civil recovery and money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”). His business crime experience includes representing suspects, defendants and witnesses in cases invoking allegations of bribery and corruption, fraud (including carbon credits, carousel/MTIC, land-banking, Ponzi and pyramid scheme frauds), insider trading, market abuse, price-fixing, sanctions-busting, and tax evasion. He has coordinated and undertaken corporate investigations and defended in cases brought by BEIS, the FCA, HMRC, NCA, OFT, SFO and others.

Harry Travers is a partner at BCL, specialising in business crime. He has had an involvement in numerous high profile commercial fraud and corruption investigations conducted by the Serious Fraud Office including ENRC, BAT, Serco, Balli Steel, Standard Bank, GPT/Airbus, Innospec, Libor, BAE and GP Noble. He was also inducted into the Legal 500 “Hall of Fame” in 2018, which recognises partners who are “at the pinnacle of the profession”.