The new chief of the Serious Fraud Office has a message for white collar criminals in Great Britain

Lisa Osofsky, the spirited director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO)

Lisa Osofsky, the spirited director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO)

Fans of hard-hitting American justice have long dreamed of a British system of prosecuting white-collar crime with similar poisons and a less respectful approach.

Finally, we may have discovered that person in Lisa Osofsky, the spirited director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), who has beaten her teeth like a young lawyer who has imprisoned corrupt judges in Chicago who murdered for $ 500 have committed bribes for murder.

When the elegant 56-year-old Osofsky arrived at the SFO in 2018, she was confronted with a caseload that read like a Who & # 39; s Who from British business, including Barclays, Glaxosmithkline, Rolls-Royce and Tesco.

There was some criticism and shock when she dropped the GSK and Rolls-Royce actions. But Osofsky is keen to tidy up the card game and continue with things that give her a better chance of winning.

& # 39; You must be practical & # 39 ;, she says about the alleged bribery and corruption of GSK in China.

& # 39; Good luck getting something from China & # 39 ;, she tells me in an interview at SFO headquarters overlooking Trafalgar Square in London. & # 39; They beheaded people convicted of corruption. It is a slightly different system than what we have in the UK. & # 39;

Her directness in talking about matters could come directly from the mouth of Paul Giamatti, who plays the Manhattan Chuck Rhoades lawyer in the award-winning US TV series, Billions.

At Rolls-Royce, there was an expectation that the SFO behind the & # 39; controlling spirit & # 39; would be mentioned in the documents, when the space travel champion agreed with her predecessor David Green a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA).

Rolls agreed to pay a £ 497.5 million fine after being charged with 12 bribery and corruption cases around the world.

Osofsky says that bringing individuals to court in such cases is not as easy as it looks like it has been for decades.

& # 39; They must be under 85, that is a plus, they must be in my jurisdiction. When it came to individuals, we had a few people at a low level and there was no point in prosecuting them for the vast crime scenario being painted. & # 39;

At Rolls-Royce, there was an expectation that the SFO behind the & # 39; controlling spirit & # 39; would go in the documents when the space travel champion agreed a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with her predecessor David Green

At Rolls-Royce, there was an expectation that the SFO behind the & # 39; controlling spirit & # 39; would go in the documents when the space travel champion agreed a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with her predecessor David Green

At Rolls-Royce, there was an expectation that the SFO behind the & # 39; controlling spirit & # 39; would go in the documents when the space travel champion agreed a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with her predecessor David Green

The most important thing is that the controlling mind has usually covered all tracks.

& # 39; There is less chance of a chain of destructive emails. People at the top of these organizations don't get their hands dirty with evidence of some kind that we can present a case with. & # 39;

DPAs, where companies are essentially put to the test, are, according to her, a good weapon complementary to following individuals – it is also none or. At Tesco we had a judge who liked Tesco, a judge who did not like Tesco. It seemed that we would get the individuals the first time. The man has a heart attack, our case is waiting for a new trial. & # 39;

There was a gap in the Tesco accounts and there was corruption at Rolls-Royce. There was a recognition of that

She acknowledges that companies can view DPA & # 39; s as the cheap way out & # 39; s. She adds: & # 39; There was a gap in the Tesco accounts and there was corruption at Rolls-Royce. That was admitted. & # 39;

Despite cynicism about DPA & # 39; s, where the company and investors suffer rather than individuals, Osofsky believes they play a hugely important role.

Prior to her arrival, the director worked on the largest and most global bank in Great Britain, HSBC. & # 39; I have just been working on the DPA against HSBC for five years. It was sewn for money laundering from Mexico. It was my job to ensure that they take measures against money laundering. & # 39;

The state of mind of the SFO and Osofsky is currently quite a chipper after his success in bringing two more Barclays executives to manipulate interest rates. Colin Bermingham, 62, and Carlo Palombo, 40, were convicted of conspiring to commit fraud. They were sentenced to five years and four years in prison respectively.

& # 39; I feel it was done well & # 39 ;, says Osofsky. & # 39; We had a hard-working jury that stayed with us and brought home the oldest we had in the ring. & # 39;

Lisa Osofsky, 56: The low point

Job: Director of the Serious Fraud Office

Born: Brooklyn, New York, but raised in Chicago

Education: BA from Amherst College, Juris Doctor Harvard Law School

FAmily: Married for 30 years to lawyer Marc Wasserman, who is half Panamanian. Two children: daughter doing a master at the Royal Academy of Music and son on a trading floor on Wall Street

House: West London

Routine: Every day at 5 o'clock and go straight to the gym & # 39; because I want to live forever & # 39;

Leisure: Attending the concerts of her daughter, opera

Fadventure movie: The wizard of Oz

Reading: Normal people by Sally Rooney

Does it think that such matters have a deterrent effect?

& # 39; It resounds. I received feedback from New York and traded floors there.

& # 39; The myth is that these things are too complicated for jury & # 39; s. The sentences were not as strict as some of the blockbuster sentences you could get in a US court. But four or five years here is fairly substantial for us. & # 39;

Despite the regret that most senior bankers have escaped persecution during the financial crisis, Osofsky says she is proud that the SFO has taken over Barclays and some senior executives on fundraising in the Middle East in the financial crisis.

& # 39; It's been behavior since the time we got a real financial blow due to the banking crisis … we didn't shirk this kind of case. & # 39;

Her journey from American justice to Great Britain came through a notorious fraud. In the early 1990s, she worked for the Justice Department in Washington and sent to London to work on what she became the & # 39; Bank of Crooks & Criminals International & # 39; calls – the notorious Bank of Credit & Commerce International (BCCI), which collapsed in 1991 – and seconded to the SFO under director George Staple.

She returned to the United States to work as an ethics officer at the FBI before deciding to live and work in the UK, and qualified as a barrister.

She then worked at Goldman Sachs against money laundering and offering advice on regulations.

Osofsky thinks it might be easier to keep fraud convictions if laws dating back to the 1800s were modernized.

A plus has emerged from the recent case against ENRC, the group of natural resources. Judge Sir Brian Leveson decided that if a company is going to lead your own internal investigation, you are better prepared to give the fruits of that investigation to the SFO if you want to be seen as a cooperative & # 39 ;.

Directors of the SFO have had a hard time finding that it is difficult to engage juries in complex cases and that judges are not always as knowledgeable and sympathetic as they would like them to be.

Osofsky's direct conversation brings a new approach to tackling corporate crimes and those who commit them.