Author: Azizur Rahman 29 July 2022
The Times sought Aziz Rahman’s opinion on the Serious Fraud Office in the wake of the report into its failed Unaoil investigation.
The report by former Sir David Calvert-Smith QC highlighted a number of problems regarding the SFO’s handling of the bribery investigation. Three of those found guilty have had their convictions quashed – one on the day of the publication of the report – due to SFO disclosure failings.
Aziz told The Times that the report was the “definitive account of a case that the SFO struggled to manage effectively and appropriately.”
He said: “This cannot be seen as the end of the matter. If anything it is the start as far as the SFO is concerned — the start of a period of assessment and probably change.”
Aziz explained that the report highlighted a vacuum at the top of the SFO in the period between the departure of its former Director Sir David Green and his successor, Lisa Osofsky; who is criticised in the report for her involvement with a third-party fixer.
He added: “The fact that Sir David is urgently advising the SFO to develop a revised process with the attorney-general for the handling of sensitive and high-risk cases is the clearest sign yet that things went badly wrong.”
Law360 also asked for Aziz’s thoughts on this report and another report, into the SFO’s collapsed Serco trial, which was published on the same day.
Aziz emphasised that Osofsky's interactions with the Unaoil case fixer "had a domino effect on the case’’ which then led to further lapses of judgment and bad decisions. He added that it looked like the SFO’s “left hand wasn't aware of what the right hand was doing."
Aziz Rahman is Senior Partner at Rahman Ravelli and its founder. His ability to coordinate national, international and multi-agency defences has led to success in some of the most significant corporate crime cases of this century and top rankings in international legal guides. He is recognised worldwide as one of the most capable legal experts regarding top-level, high-value commercial and financial disputes.