Author: Zulfi Meerza 30 March 2023
Rahman Ravelli’s Zulfi Meerza, a former Serious Fraud Office senior investigative lawyer, has been identifying the tasks facing whoever replaces Lisa Osofsky as head of the agency.
With Osofsky set to step down in August, Law360 asked Zulfi what the main concerns would be for her successor as Director of the SFO.
He explained that the new Director will have to restore public confidence in the agency. He added that while the SFO does obtain positive results, they have been overshadowed by recent “self-inflicted losses."
Zulfi said that critics of the SFO should recognise that the SFO is "chronically under-resourced and under-funded" in its battle against wealthy defendants.
He added: "It seems strange to me that we are living through a fraud epidemic and yet the SFO — who are meant to be the UK’s leading enforcement agency when it comes to investigating and prosecuting the most complex fraud cases — is unable to do its job properly."
Zulfi pinpointed the 10-year SFO investigation into suspicions of corruption and bribery at Eurasian Natural Resources Corp as one of the biggest challenges that the new Director will face. With neither the company or any individuals having been charged so far, and ENRC having brought its own legal action against the SFO, Zulfi believes there is “a lot riding on ENRC’’ for the agency.
He says ENRC “will be the biggest call’’ for the new Director. Whoever takes up the post should, Zulfi argues, have prosecutorial experience and a deep understanding of the UK criminal justice system.
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Senior Associate Solicitor
Zulfi’s in-depth expertise in corporate crime investigations, serious regulatory matters and complex commercial litigation makes him a logical choice to represent corporates, board members, senior business figures and high net worth individuals.