News & what's on - Written by on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 5:16 - 0 Comments

BREAKING: SFO Director contract extension marks vote of confidence in agency turnaround

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Director-6-Square-desk-shot-e1455011278670The Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP has confirmed “that the Director of the Serious Fraud Office David Green CB QC has had his contract extended by 2 years. David Green was appointed Director in April 2012 for a fixed term due to end in April 2016. His contract will now end on 20 April 2018.”

The Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP said:

“In his time as Director of the SFO David Green led a change in the organisation’s approach to prosecuting cases and delivered the first UK Deferred Prosecution Agreement and the first convictions under the Bribery Act 2010. I look forward to working with him in the next phase of his leadership of the Serious Fraud Office.”

Good news

This is excellent news for the SFO and reflects a first term which has, in summary, been positive for the agency.

The simple fact is that under the present Directors tenure the agency has achieved a number of landmark successes and dealt with some difficult legacy issues against a back drop where the agency, by its very nature is subject to challenge and scrutiny like no other.

As referenced by the Attorney General the agency has achieved its first Bribery Act convictions and the first Deferred Prosecution Agreement.

Historic cases, for example Asil Nadir and the Weavering Capital cases either in abeyance for years or mothballed have been successfully prosecuted under the new Director’s watch.

The agency has not shied away from taking on some massive investigations which remain ongoing.

Opinion

The extension provides much needed certainty which will be welcomed by the SFO and those working for it.

Looking forward the extension also enables the Director to see through some of the big investigations started on the new Director’s watch and also to  embed changes that the new Director has been the architect of.

The SFO standing internationally is high and relations with the US good.

It will be interesting to see if the Director’s push to create a new offence of failure to prevent fraud will gain traction.

We think it will and consider that there are good reasons for such a change (the arguments against it are harder to understand especially when the failure to prevent Bribery Offence rubicon has been crossed).

More broadly the rationale for a specific agency, namely the SFO, to investigate and prosecute Serious Fraud is vital to maintaining the UK’s reputation as a good place to do business, domestically and on the international stage is more important than ever.

David Green’s extension is a deserved government vote of confidence in the turnaround the SFO with David Green at the helm.  A good news day for the SFO!

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