U.K. to Probe Prosecutor Over Failures in Oil Bribery Case
(Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s Attorney General will probe the country’s top fraud prosecutor after judges found serious failings in a major bribery investigation.
The government’s chief legal adviser is “deeply concerned” about a ruling published Friday, which criticized the Serious Fraud Office for its relations with a U.S. fixer and for not disclosing key documents. A London appeals court quashed one of the convictions in the Unaoil bribery case because of failings made by the prosecutor.
The Attorney General “will be discussing the implications with the director of the Serious Fraud Office urgently,” according to a statement. It “has today commissioned an independent review of the issues highlighted including disclosure failings at the Serious Fraud Office.”
A spokesperson for the prosecutor said it would fully cooperate with the review. This investigation supersedes a review the SFO had planned to conduct itself.
The probe places the spotlight on SFO director Lisa Osofsky. It also comes after a string of failings for the agency, including the collapse of its trial against two former Serco Group Plc directors due to disclosure errors.
In Friday’s ruling, judges described the prosecutor’s dealings with an unofficial fixer as “wholly inappropriate” and said its refusal to provide key documents in the case was a “serious failure” especially as “some of the documents had a clear potential to embarrass the SFO.” They also said they weren’t suggesting any SFO official “deliberately sought to cover anything up.”
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