Presiding judge Dame Victoria Sharp said, “It is to be noted that through its engagement with the SFO related in the first instance to matters concerning UKEF, Airbus also accepted that the Bribery Act 2010 provided the SFO with extended extraterritorial powers and with a potential interest in facts post 2011. This was an unprecedented step for a Dutch and French domiciled company to take, in respect of the reporting of conduct which had taken place almost exclusively overseas.”

Let’s observe that there might be a bit of a contradiction above: if a legal challenge by a foreign defendant over UK jurisdiction amounts to a lack of cooperation and may end up harming the defendant’s cause, this might put the defendant under a certain pressure not to trigger a judicial battle over jurisdiction. In these conditions, would it really be appropriate for the judge to defer to the fact that the defendant is not challenging UK jurisdiction?

Only time will tell, with further cases and judicial decisions, whether there are limits to the extraterritorial reach of Section 7 of the UKBA or whether the simple fact of having a subsidiary in the UK is enough to legally subject any global company to UK investigations and prosecution.

(Originally published on FCPA Blog)