10 years .....10 years it has taken for a conviction for Alstom's role in paying bribes to supply to a Metro system in Tunis.
These cases are vast and complex. 10 years is not unusual but is at the very top end. However the fine of £15m, whilst of course a considerable sum, falls well short of the penalties handed down by the DPAs in recent times.
The DPA regime did not exist when the Alstom investigation commenced. The first DPA in 2017, against Rolls Royce, yielded £500m. The following 3 DPAs, all avoiding prosecution in court of the corporate, added around a further £200m.
The SFO will no doubt be glad that the case is over. The line is drawn under this long and drawn out matter which has seen several separate trials with their own issues.
However if the DPA regime existed would the SFO have adopted a prosecution? Highly unlikely.
If this case shows anything it is that the SFO's strength is in the DPA. The quick jab and with the foreseen increase in Whistleblowing and protected witnesses we can all see that.
I have no doubt though that in the appropriate circumstances the SFO, as with any agency, will consider the code for prosecutions and make the necessary determination to prosecute, whether a corporate or an individual.
Next? All eyes on the Barclays executive trial at the Old Bailey.
Earlier this week, it was fined £15m after being convicted in 2018 of paying bribes to win a contract to supply trams to the Tunis metro system. It is fair to say that it is not really a victory that new Serious Fraud Office (SFO) director Lisa Osofsky can claim as her own. But is it really a victory at all for the SFO?