On 6 August 2019, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) released its Corporate Co-operation Guidance (SFO Guidance), joining the US Department of Justice and French Parquet National Financier and Agence Française Anticorruption in issuing new 2019 corporate enforcement guidance. All three regions provide welcome direction to assist companies towards the same destination—leniency for co-operation and avoidance of a criminal conviction via local deferred or negotiated prosecution agreements. Despite these parallels, they are not a perfect match: companies must navigate several differences in cross-border investigations on the route to a global resolution.

This Legal Update (i) examines the key aspects of the SFO Guidance; (ii) considers the differences between the UK, US and French approaches; and (iii) reflects on some of the challenges that remain for multinational companies, particularly in the context of cross-border investigations.

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