Author: Azizur Rahman 20 December 2021
Aziz Rahman wrote an article examining the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) problems after former Unaoil executive Ziad Akle had his bribery conviction quashed.
The Court of Appeal judges stated that the agency’s failure to disclose vital evidence had led to Mr Akle being jailed unfairly for bribery relating to oil contracts in Iraq. Their ruling was followed by the Attorney General announcing an independent review into the SFO.
Aziz’s piece detailed the SFO’s shortcomings in the case; including the dealings some of its senior figures had with a private investigator and the wiping of relevant data from a mobile phone.
He explained that the SFO now faces the challenge of having to persuade the Attorney General, the government, the business world and its foreign counterparts that it is fit for purpose. The SFO, he argued, has to improve its disclosure processes. He highlighted the prosecution of two Serco executives, which collapsed earlier this year due to another SFO failure to disclose evidence to defendants.
Aziz stated that abolishing the SFO, forcing its Director to resign or giving some of its duties to other organisations are options. But the immediate challenge for the SFO is to see how it can perform better.
Aziz's article featured on Fraud Intelligence. (Subscription required)
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.