The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is a non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud and corruption in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The SFO is accountable to the Attorney General for England and Wales, and was established by the Criminal Justice Act 1987, an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 grants the SFO special compulsory powers to require any person (or business/bank) to provide any relevant documents (including confidential ones) and answer any relevant questions including ones about confidential matters. The SFO is the principal enforcer of the Bribery Act 2010, which has been designed to encourage good corporate governance and enhance the reputation of the City of London and the UK as a safe place to do business. Its jurisdiction does not extend to Scotland where fraud and corruption are investigated by Police Scotland through their Specialist Crime Division, and prosecutions are undertaken by the Economic Crime Unit of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
|Serious Fraud Office|
Welsh: Swyddfa Dwyll Difrifol
|Type||Non-ministerial government department|
|Jurisdiction||England and Wales and Northern Ireland|
|Employees||Around 500 permanent staff|
|Annual budget||£36.35m (2011–12)|
|General nature: Law Enforcement Specialism: Serious or complex fraud, bribery, corruption and proceeds of crime|
During the 1970s and early 1980s a series of financial scandals in the City of London destroyed the public's trust in the way serious or complex frauds were handled. In response to this the Government established the Fraud Trials Committee in 1983. This independent committee, under the chairmanship of Lord Roskill, considered how changes to the law and criminal proceedings could lead to more effective ways of fighting fraud. The committee report, commonly known as 'the Roskill Report' was published in 1986. Its main recommendation was to set up a new, unified organisation responsible for detecting, investigating and prosecuting serious fraud cases. As a result, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and its unique powers were created by the Criminal Justice Act 1987. It opened for business in April 1988. The SFO also enforces the UK Bribery Act 2010.
The Al-Yamamah arms deal during the 1980s was a large scale aircraft and weapons deal between the UK and Saudi Arabia. It was extended throughout the 1990s and saw thousands of UK citizens living and working in Saudi Arabia representing £40bn worth of business. BAE Systems Plc was the primary contractor. In 2004 the SFO began to investigate the contracts within the al-Yamamah deal on the grounds of suspected false accounting, but the investigation was controversially dropped in 2006. The decision was made following concerns about national security amidst reports that the Saudi Government would stop sharing counterterrorist information with the UK if the investigation continued. This drew criticism from number of sources, not least from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). A High Court review in 2008 ruled that the SFO had acted unlawfully by dropping the corruption investigation but was later overturned on appeal by the SFO to the House of Lords.
In 2008, an official internal "Review of the Serious Fraud Office", which was conducted by a former senior New York City prosecutor, compared the SFO unfavourably with two of its counterparts in New York City: the offices of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the New York County District Attorney. It found that the American prosecutors obtained higher conviction rates in a shorter amount of time with fewer resources. It also found that the SFO had significantly lower conviction rates than elite divisions of the UK Crown Prosecution Service. It attributed the SFO's relatively poor performance to, among other things, failure to keep all court advocacy "in-house", failure to assign each case a single lawyer who managed it "from cradle to grave", failure to interview witnesses at an early stage, and failure to co-operate closely with the police.
While Home Secretary, Theresa May expressed that she wanted the National Crime Agency (NCA) to absorb the SFO. While the SFO is supervised by the Attorney General’s Office, the NCA is overseen by Home Office. From around 2005 to 2017, the SFO underwent a series of budget cuts. On May 18, 2017, the Tories released a manifesto pledging to dismantle the Serious Fraud Office and roll it into the NCA if they won the general elections in June 2017. The manifesto claimed that the incorporation would "strengthen Britain’s response to white collar crime by... improving intelligence sharing and bolstering the investigation of serious fraud, money laundering and financial crime."
In 1986 there were rumours that the Guinness Brewery takeover of the Distillers Company was tainted by an unlawful share support operation which involved Guinness offering secret indemnities (from its own funds) against losses to people ‘supporting’ the bid which resulted in a dramatic rise in the price of Guinness shares.
Having examined the bid, the SFO opened an investigation which led to the conviction in 1990 of the then chief executive of Guinness and three other defendants.
Al Yamamah is the name of a series of a record arms sales by the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia. In 2006, An investigation by the British Serious Fraud Office into the deal was discontinued after political pressure from the Saudi and British governments.
In 1999 British Aerospace Defence Systems Ltd agreed a contract with the Government of Tanzania for the supply of a radar defence system. A local businessman in Tanzania was recruited to advise BAE on its negotiations with the Government on the radar contract.
Between January 2000 and December 2005 around $12.4 million was paid to the local businessman's two companies. BAE has accepted that there was a high probability that part of this sum would be used to favour it in the contract negotiations with the Tanzanian Government.
The payments were not subject to proper and adequate scrutiny or review and BAE Systems Plc was subsequently fined £500,000 after admitting that it had failed to keep adequate accounting records of the defence contract with the Government of Tanzania. This outcome followed a settlement by BAE, as part of a global agreement reached in 2010 with the Serious Fraud Office and the US Department of Justice, concerning contracts in a number of countries. The settlement with the SFO relates to the Tanzanian contract. The terms of the settlement include an agreement by BAE to pay an ex-gratia sum (£30 million less any fine imposed by the Crown Court) for the benefit of the people of Tanzania. BAE was also ordered to pay £225,000 costs to the SFO.
In June 2017, John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath were charged with offences regarding Barclays's raising of £11.8 billion in emergency funds. The fraud was alleged to have taken place around the financial crisis of 2007–2008.
The BCCI Bank was a Luxembourg-registered bank that collapsed in 1992. It was discovered by the bank's auditors, that the bank was running on loss for many years. It was reported that the bank was involved in drug-trafficking, money-laundering and phony loans. The key player in the collapse was Pakistani shipping magnate Abbas Gokal. It was discovered that Gokal's company, Gulf Shipping Lines, had gotten a US$1.2 billion unsecured loan from the bank. When the bank collapsed and the scandal emerged, Gokal escaped to Pakistan. It was hard to get him because the United Kingdom and Pakistan had no extradition treaty. Gokal was making a trip to America in 1994. When his plane stopped for re-fueling in Frankfurt, German police arrested him and extradited him to the United Kingdom. He was handed a 14-year sentence as a result of the SFO prosecution, the longest sentence handed out in a British court for fraud.
As one of the Law Officers' Departments, the SFO reports to the Attorney General of the UK. The SFO is unique in that its role is to both investigate and prosecute. Its case teams are therefore made up of investigators, lawyers, law clerks and forensic accountants. The SFO employs around 500 people. The cost of running the SFO in the financial year 2010–11 was 64p for each member of the British public. Over 80 per cent of staff are specialist caseworkers. When deciding what action to take, lawyers in the SFO must bear in mind the Prosecutors Code.
The SFO is a specialist organisation that investigates only the most serious types of economic crime. As a result, a potential case must meet certain criteria before it is taken on. In deciding, the Director will take into account all the circumstances of the case and consider:
The Serious Fraud Office's jurisdiction does not extend to Scotland where fraud and corruption are investigated by Police Scotland through their Specialist Crime Division, and prosecutions are undertaken by the Economic Crime Unit of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
The SFO investigates and prosecutes fraud. The SFO prosecutes different types of fraud, including investment fraud. Among the types of investment fraud prosecuted are boiler room fraud (share scams), which is an operation, usually run from abroad, where scammers typically cold-call people and use hard-sell tactics to sell shares that prove worthless, are inflated in price, or don't exist. The SFO cites Vintage Wines of St Albans as an example of a successful boiler room fraud prosecution. The SFO also prosecutes the investment schemes called 'Ponzi' or pyramid schemes, which typically involves an investment offer which promises to provide an abnormally higher rate of return. In a Ponzi scheme, a single operator benefits, while in a pyramid scheme, many investors benefit from recruiting other investors. The SFO has cited the KF Concept case as an example of one of its successful ponzi scheme prosecutions, where a banker was jailed for 10 years for running an unauthorized investment business and defrauding investors of amounts over £17 million.
The SFO also prosecutes multiple types of corporate fraud. The SFO website as of 2013 outlined several types of fraud it classified as corporate, including asset stripping, which involved company directors taking company funds or assets of value while leaving behind the debts. Other types of prosecuted corporate fraud include fraudulent trading, where a company carries on a business for any fraudulent purposes. An example of a successful SFO prosecution for fraudulent trading is the InterGB group, the collective name for a number of companies that, between 1996 and 2000, extracted more than £85 million from three financial institutions by submitting false invoices. The chairman of the group was jailed for seven years. Also prosecuted are share ramping. Also known as 'pump and dump' or 'book ramping', is where criminals influence the share price of a company and then take advantage of the price fluctuations. Publishing false information is also prosecuted as corporate crime. According to the SFO, this is usually done to mislead investors and creditors and to keep a failing company trading.
According to the SFO, corruption is where the integrity of a person, Government, or company is manipulated and compromised for personal gain. SFO classifies and prosecutes two main types of corruption. It defines political corruption as the dysfunction of a political system or institution in which government officials, political officials or employees look for illegitimate personal gain through actions such as bribery, extortion, cronyism, patronage and embezzlement. It defines corporate corruption as where, for example, bribes are offered to agencies/ institutions/individuals in order to win a contract. It brought up Innospec Limited, manufacturers of a fuel additive, as an example of a successful prosecution for corporate corruption.
The SFO has a dedicated International Assistance team which regularly assists law enforcement agencies worldwide with their investigations. In 2010–11 the SFO assisted over 30 different jurisdictions.
According to the SFO, victims are at the core of its strategy. They include any person, organisation, or Government both in the UK and abroad, which has suffered direct financial loss from the most serious and complex fraud, or corruption.
The SFO tries to get justice for victims by recovering as much recompense as possible for victims. In April 2011, £64 million of funds were, or were due to be returned to victims. The average jail sentence handed out in SFO cases was 56 months in 2010-11. For example, in 2011 three fraudsters running the online Xclusive ticket fraud (that failed to deliver tickets to the Beijing Olympics and various music festivals) each received prison sentences of up to eight years. The SFO started confiscation proceedings to recover money for victims.
Barclays plc () is a British multinational investment bank and financial services company, headquartered in London. Apart from investment banking, Barclays is organised into four core businesses: personal banking, corporate banking, wealth management, and investment management.Barclays traces its origins to a goldsmith banking business established in the City of London in 1690. James Barclay became a partner in the business in 1736. In 1896, several banks in London and the English provinces, including Backhouse's Bank and Gurney's Bank, united as a joint-stock bank under the name Barclays and Co. Over the following decades, Barclays expanded to become a nationwide bank. In 1967, Barclays deployed the world's first cash dispenser. Barclays has made numerous corporate acquisitions, including of London, Provincial and South Western Bank in 1918, British Linen Bank in 1919, Mercantile Credit in 1975, the Woolwich in 2000 and the North American operations of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
Barclays has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Qatar Holdings, an investment vehicle of the State of Qatar, is the largest shareholder of the company.According to a 2011 paper by Vitali et al., Barclays was the most powerful transnational corporation in terms of ownership and thus corporate control over global financial stability and market competition, with AXA and State Street Corporation taking the 2nd and 3rd positions, respectively.Campaign Against Arms Trade
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is a UK-based campaigning organisation working towards the abolition of the international arms trade. It was founded in 1974 by a coalition of peace groups. It has been involved in several campaigns, particularly its legal challenge against the Serious Fraud Office's decision to suspend a corruption investigation into BAE Systems in 2007. On 27 September 2012, it was honoured with a Right Livelihood Award for its "innovative and effective campaigning".David Green (Director of the SFO)
Sir David John Mark Green (born 8 March 1954) is a British lawyer and prosecutor, who served from 2012 until 2018 as the Director of the Serious Fraud Office.David Jenkins (sprinter)
David Andrew Jenkins (born 25 May 1952) is a Scottish former track and field sprinter, drug trafficker, convicted felon and informant who competed mainly in the 200 metres and 400 metres and was part of the UK relay team which won a silver medal at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. He later confessed to using performance enhancing anabolic steroids.
Jenkins became involved in drug trafficking in the 1980s and it is estimated that at one time he was responsible for up to 70% of the steroids trafficked in the United States. Jenkins was convicted in October 1987 of smuggling $100 million of illegal anabolic steroids into the United States, a felony, and was sentenced to seven years in federal prison in December 1988. Following his early release from prison via a Rule 35 sentence reduction for becoming an informant, Jenkins was released from prison after only 10 months for time served. Then he grew a legal fitness products enterprise in the form of NEXT Proteins. He owns several issued patents in the US and 41 other countries around his invention of carbonated protein drinks. Referring to David Hemery, the gold medal winner of the 400 metres hurdles at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Jenkins told The Independent newspaper of Britain that, "I sold him down the river, and that wasn't cool." His brother Roger Jenkins is also a former athlete and was a prominent tax avoidance executive at Barclays Bank who faces a possible 22 years in prison after having been charged by the Serious Fraud Office (United Kingdom) with bank fraud.Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) (15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1, et seq.) is a United States federal law known primarily for two of its main provisions: one that addresses accounting transparency requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and another concerning bribery of foreign officials. The Act was amended in 1988 and in 1998, and has been subject to continued congressional concerns, namely whether its enforcement discourages U.S. companies from investing abroad.Fraud
In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (i.e., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation), a criminal law (i.e., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements.A hoax is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim.George Yankey
George Sipa-Adjah Yankey is a Ghanaian lawyer and politician. He is the former CEO of Ghana Gas and served as Minister for Health of Ghana. He obtained his PhD in 1987 from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.HP Autonomy
HP Autonomy, previously Autonomy Corporation PLC, is a multinational enterprise software company founded in Cambridge, United Kingdom in 1996.
Originally, Autonomy specialised in analysis of large scale unstructured "big data", becoming the UK's largest and most successful software business by 2010. It used a combination of technologies born out of research at the University of Cambridge and developed a variety of enterprise search and knowledge management applications using adaptive pattern recognition techniques centered on Bayesian inference in conjunction with traditional methods. It maintained an aggressively entrepreneurial marketing approach, and controls described as a "rod of iron", which was said to include zero tolerance and firing the weakest 5% of its sales force each quarter, while cosseting the best sales staff "like rock stars".Autonomy was acquired by Hewlett-Packard (HP) in October 2011. The deal valued Autonomy at $11.7 billion (£7.4 billion) with a premium of around 79% over market price that was widely criticized as "absurdly high", a "botched strategy shift" and a "chaotic" attempt to rapidly reposition HP and enhance earnings by expanding the high-margin software services sector. Within a year, major culture clashes became apparent and HP had written off $8.8 billion of Autonomy's value. HP claims this resulted from "accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures" by the previous management. A successful fraud case was brought against the CFO Sushovan Hussain. Previous management in turn accused HP of a "textbook example of defensive stalling" to conceal evidence of its own prior knowledge and gross mismanagement and undermining of the company, noting public awareness since 2009 of its financial reporting issues and that even HP's CFO disagreed with the price paid. External observers generally state that only a small part of the write-off appears to be due to accounting mis-statements, and that HP had overpaid for businesses previously.HP recruited Robert Youngjohns, ex-Microsoft president of North America, to take over HP Autonomy in September 2012, who has worked towards a turnaround through expanding its information management and analytics software business. Though the company is integrating into HP Software, Autonomy remains a singular operational business.In 2017, HP sold its Autonomy assets, as part of a wider deal, to the British software company Micro Focus.Hewlett-Packard
The Hewlett-Packard Company (commonly referred to as HP, and stylized as hp) or Hewlett-Packard ( HEW-lit PAK-ərd) was an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California. It developed and provided a wide variety of hardware components as well as software and related services to consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises, including customers in the government, health and education sectors.
The company was founded in a one-car garage in Palo Alto by Bill Hewlett and David Packard, and initially produced a line of electronic test equipment. HP was the world's leading PC manufacturer from 2007 to Q2 2013, at which time Lenovo ranked ahead of HP. HP specialized in developing and manufacturing computing, data storage, and networking hardware, designing software and delivering services. Major product lines included personal computing devices, enterprise and industry standard servers, related storage devices, networking products, software and a diverse range of printers and other imaging products. HP directly marketed its products to households, small- to medium-sized businesses and enterprises as well as via online distribution, consumer-electronics and office-supply retailers, software partners and major technology vendors. HP also had services and consulting business around its products and partner products.
Hewlett-Packard company events included the spin-off of its electronic and bio-analytical measurement instruments part of its business as Agilent Technologies in 1999, its merger with Compaq in 2002, and the acquisition of EDS in 2008, which led to combined revenues of $118.4 billion in 2008 and a Fortune 500 ranking of 9 in 2009. In November 2009, HP announced the acquisition of 3Com, with the deal closing on April 12, 2010. On April 28, 2010, HP announced the buyout of Palm, Inc. for $1.2 billion. On September 2, 2010, HP won its bidding war for 3PAR with a $33 a share offer ($2.07 billion), which Dell declined to match.Hewlett-Packard spun off its enterprise products and services business as Hewlett Packard Enterprise on November 1, 2015. Hewlett-Packard held onto the PC and printer businesses, and was renamed to HP Inc.Jenny Rowe
Jennifer Rowe (born 2 October 1955) was a British civil servant and chief executive of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.List of anti-corruption agencies
An anti-corruption agency is a special police agency specialised in fighting political corruption and engaging in general anti-corruption activities. Most are founded by statute, but some have a constitutional status.Rio Tinto (corporation)
Rio Tinto is an Anglo-Australian multinational and one of the world's largest metals and mining corporations. The company was founded in 1873, when a multinational consortium of investors purchased a mine complex on the Rio Tinto, in Huelva, Spain, from the Spanish government. Since then, the company has grown through a long series of mergers and acquisitions to place itself among the world leaders in the production of many commodities, including aluminium, iron ore, copper, uranium, and diamonds. Although primarily focused on extraction of minerals, Rio Tinto also has significant operations in refining, particularly for refining bauxite and iron ore. The company has operations on six continents, but is mainly concentrated in Australia and Canada, and owns its mining operations through a complex web of wholly and partly owned subsidiaries. Rio Tinto has joint head offices in London (global and "plc") and Melbourne ("Limited" – Australia).Rio Tinto is a dual-listed company traded on both the London Stock Exchange, where it is a component of the FTSE 100 Index, and the Australian Securities Exchange, where it is a component of the S&P/ASX 200 index. Additionally, American Depositary Shares of Rio Tinto's British branch are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, giving it listings on a total of 3 major stock exchanges.SFO (disambiguation)
SFO is the airport identifier code for San Francisco International Airport.
SFO may also refer to:
San Francisco Opera
Santa Fe Opera, in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Secular Franciscan Order, a Catholic community
Serious Fraud Office (United Kingdom), a government department
Serious Fraud Office (New Zealand), a government department
Single Family Office, a private company that manages investments and trusts for a single family
Specialist Firearms Officer, a British Police officer who has undergone training in the use of firearms
Sportfreunde Oestrich-Iserlohn, a German association football club
Station facility owner, part of the role of a train operating company in the United Kingdom
Subfornical organ, in the brainSanela Diana Jenkins
Sanela Diana Jenkins (born Sanela Dijana Ćatić; 1973) is a Bosnian entrepreneur and philanthropist. She currently resides in California. Jenkins fled her home country during the Siege of Sarajevo and emigrated to London, where she studied at City University, London.Serious Fraud Office
The Serious Fraud Office may refer to:
Serious Fraud Office (United Kingdom)
Serious Fraud Office (New Zealand)
Serious Fraud Investigation Office, IndiaSerious Fraud Office (New Zealand)
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO; Māori: Te Tari Hara Tāware) is the public service department of New Zealand charged with detecting, investigating and prosecuting financial crimes, including corruption, of a serious and complex nature.
The SFO is New Zealand's lead law enforcement agency for investigating and prosecuting serious financial crime, including bribery and corruption. The Auckland-based agency has about 50 employees of which 90 percent perform front-line activities. It has statutory independence as operational decisions are made without ministerial direction. The agency is based upon its UK counterpart as established by the Serious Fraud Office Act 1990. The SFO was established as a response to the collapse of the capital markets following the stock market crash in 1987.
Suspects questioned by the SFO have no right to silence and must answer questions and produce requested evidence, even if it incriminates them. However, evidence at an interview cannot be used against a suspect at his or her trial, unless he or she gives evidence which contradicts their SFO interview. Witnesses can also be required to answer questions under compulsion. Such interviews enable people with confidentiality agreements with clients to speak freely to the SFO without fear of retribution from their clients. These provisions do not override legal professional privilege. Anyone who refuses to comply can be prosecuted and could be fined or jailed. Prosecutions are extremely rare and no one has been jailed for this offence.Sue Street
Dame Susan Ruth Street, DCB (née Galeski; born 11 August 1949) was the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) from 2001 to 2006. She was responsible for the overall strategy, delivery and expenditure for the whole department. This included major projects like the winning bid for the London 2012 Olympic Games and the renewal of the BBC Charter.
From 2007 to 2012, Street was a Strategic Adviser to Deloitte and a member of its public sector council. Prior to that she held posts in the areas of security and Criminal Justice policy serving as a Director General in the Home Office in 1999 and leading a study of the Youth Justice Board which reported in early 2010. She has held a number of pro-bono roles including the Whitehall and Industry Group, a Senior Management Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, board member of the National School of Government and a governor of South Hampstead High School. Sue served on the main board of HMRC from 2008 to 2010.Her current roles include Non-Executive Director of the Ministry of Justice, trustee of the Royal Opera House, Governor of the Royal Ballet, BUPA associate and Associate Fellow of the Institute for Government. In 2014, she was appointed Non-Executive Director of Adlens, developer and manufacturer of variable focus eyewear.Trafigura
Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd. is a multinational commodity trading company founded in 1993 that trades in base metals and energy. Headquartered in Singapore, Trafigura is legally registered in Singapore. Farringford N.V., registered in Curaçao, is the ultimate parent company. It is the world's second largest private oil trader after Vitol and the world's largest private metals trader.Trafigura was set up by Claude Dauphin and Eric de Turckheim. It split off from a group of companies managed by Marc Rich in 1993. Before his death, in September 2015, Dauphin owned less than 20% of the company, with the rest owned by 500 senior staff.Trafigura has been named or involved in several scandals, particularly the 2006 Ivory Coast toxic waste dump, which left up to 100,000 people with skin rashes, headaches and respiratory problems. The company was also involved in the Iraq Oil-for-Food Scandal.
Trafigura has built or purchased stakes in pipelines, mines, smelters, ports and storage terminals.
|England and Wales|