U.K. Bribery Prosecutors Monteith, Amaee Leave Office for U.S. Law Firms
Two senior prosecutors at the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, Charlie Monteith and Robert Amaee, have left for private practice three months before the country’s Bribery Act is set to take effect.
Monteith, a former senior policy adviser and the head of assurance at the SFO, is joining New York-based law firm White & Case LLP in its London office after more than four years at the agency. Amaee, the former head of the anti-corruption and proceeds-of-crime units at the SFO, joined Covington & Burling LLP, a Washington-based firm.
“It is a testament to the high levels of professionalism inside the SFO that SFO personnel are highly valued in private practice,” Richard Alderman, the agency’s director, said of the moves. “Those with experience in dealing with overseas corruption and bribery and an understanding of the bribery law and how it is likely to be implemented are even more valuable.”
The Bribery Act, which will be enforced starting April 1, is creating work for lawyers and accountants as companies prepare compliance plans. The law requires corporations to put “adequate procedures” in place to prevent employees from paying bribes. Britain updated its bribery law after international criticism of its record prosecuting corruption.
Monteith “directly influenced most of the key parts of the Bribery Act” and is the only person who was involved with it since its inception three years ago, White & Case spokesman Nick Clarke said. Monteith, who was also lead writer of the U.K. Attorney General’s guidance on the law, will join the firm’s global white-collar practice in London on Feb. 1, Clarke said.
Series of Firsts
During Monteith and Amaee’s tenure, the SFO won its first civil-recovery order in a corruption probe, secured a fine in its first prosecution of a company for overseas corruption and reached a plea bargain in an overseas bribery case for the first time. The agency was criticized by a judge in the plea-bargained case for overstepping its powers.
“The last 12 to 18 months have been quite a groundbreaking time for the SFO,” Amaee said in an interview last week. “We really pushed the boundaries of the law.”
Another former SFO prosecutor, Matthew Cowie, who oversaw an investigation of BAE Systems Plc, left in June to join the U.S. law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
Alderman has said the agency is trying to do more with fewer resources. The government has cut the SFO’s budget more than 20 percent in each of the past two years.
Amaee, 40, joined the SFO in July 2009, after working as a barrister at 2 Bedford Row and 3 Raymond Buildings. At Covington & Burling, he will advise companies on complying with anti- corruption laws, including the U.K. Bribery Act.
Alderman said he welcomed “enhanced links between the organization and private practice, whilst assuring the public that there are other able and talented people inside the SFO.”
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