U.K. Drops Bribery Probe Into De La Rue Banknotes for South Sudan

(Bloomberg) --

U.K. prosecutors dropped a bribery investigation into De La Rue Plc related to South Sudan that had made shares of the banknote and passport printer slump to their lowest since October 1998 when the probe was opened last year.

The Serious Fraud Office said Tuesday that it had “concluded that this case did not meet the relevant test for prosecution,” meaning there was no realistic prospect of conviction and public interest in bringing a case.

The world’s biggest printer of banknotes, which has suffered from increased competition and pricing pressures, won the contract to supply the South Sudan pound when the African nation became independent following a split with the north in 2011. The firm, which started out in 1813 when Thomas de la Rue started printed a newspaper on the island of Guernsey, says that it works with two-thirds of the countries in the world.

When the probe was announced a year ago, the shares slumped as much as 17% in London trading to their lowest since October 1998.

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