After the acquittal, the Serious Fraud Office published details of a deferred prosecution agreement reached in October with Güralp Systems AG. As part of the deal, Güralp Systems Ltd accepted allegations of conspiracy between 2002 and 2015 to deter corrupt payments and prevent corruption and agreed to pay a total of £2,069,861 to SFO. The decision to publish a deferred prosecution agreement with a company, despite the acquittal of three people accused of alleged misconduct, was sharply criticized by a defense lawyer. Cansun Güralp, the founder of British seismic equipment company Güralp Systems, as well as former chief financial officer Andrew Bell and Natalie Pearce, the company`s chief commercial officer, were acquitted on Friday by a jury of southwark Crown Court of conspiracy for corrupt payments. This is the third CCA in the UK where those prosecuted for misconduct, which formed the basis of the DPA, have been acquitted by a court. The SFO is absolutely right to pursue individual lawsuits when it has completed a DPA. However, this recent round of acquittals will raise serious questions for the SFO about how its repressive strategy works and how effective the UK`s defence agreement regime is. Serious Fraud Office completed only five prosecutions in 2019 as it continues to intruder the investigation without charge. The agreement on GSL`s corporate compliance program deserves closer scrutiny. The agreement sets out in detail the amount of reports expected by GSL`s head of SFO compliance. They must, among other things, report to the SFO on GSL`s current anti-corruption and corruption policies and their implementation within twelve months of the date of the DPA and, thereafter, annually (during the term of the agreement). It is clear that the SFO now needs to take a long look at its repressive strategy and why it is proving so difficult to bring these cases home in jury trials. The SFO may need to provide jurors with better evidence of the importance of these cases and why corruption is so damaging.
The SFO should not stop trying to prosecute those who may be responsible for the faults committed by companies. But we certainly have to find a way to succeed and be transparent about what he thinks is wrong. The CCA with GSL was the first CCA in the UK to hear the final authorization hearing in a private, non-public capacity. It is also the first DPA where the company has not paid a fine at all, but only fermented. While GSL agreed to pay $2 million ($2.6 million) for the profit deposit, no payment schedule was set within the CCA. Instead, GSL will pay, as the judgment states, the full amount of the levy until the "fifth anniversary of the date of the agreement". After three senior Guralp Systems executives were acquitted of corruption charges, it was announced that the company has reached a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) Lisa Osofsky, director of SFO, said the agreement "keeps the company accountable while encouraging positive changes in corporate culture."