Serious Fraud Office closes in on six City firms

Serious Fraud Office closes in on six City firms


The director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has disclosed that six large City institutions are currently being investigated for fraud, after a number of whistleblowers came forward.

Richard Alderman said: “Half a dozen whistleblowers contacted us with some really great stuff about big-named City institutions. If things work out we should have some major announcements within the next few months.”

Mr Alderman was drafted into the government agency a year ago under plans to make the SFO more proactive, following the collapse of a number of high-profile cases and 90% of senior managers being replaced.

Despite the unit’s budget being cut by more than 10% to £42 million, a recent annual report showed that the SFO’s conviction rate has risen from 61% to 80%.

The SFO is now focusing on exposing corruption in the City, and is planning to use intrusive surveillance techniques such as phone tapping and mail interception, as well as a network of moles – referred to as Covert Human Intelligence Sources – in order to tackle fraud.

Some financial crime lawyers have criticised the new proactive SFO model, arguing that rather than improving investigations, the new director has followed “easy-to-win” cases and let criminals in more complex fraud cases slip away.

Mr Alderman has denied this, saying: “You can't investigate everything. There are victims out there suffering and they want results so you need to stop the cases you have no chance of winning.”


Leave a comment