March 19, 2019

March 18, 2019

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SFO appears safe for now after proposed merger with the National Crime Agency omitted from Queen’s Speech

The UK Government appears for the time being at least to have scrapped plans to merge the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) with the National Crime Agency (“NCA”). The controversial proposal to abolish the SFO did not feature in the Queen’s Speech, suggesting that it has been put on the back burner following the failure of Prime Minister Theresa May to gain an overall majority following the recent General Election.

The proposal to combine the SFO with the NCA was previously met with disapproving comment from many who suggested that it would damage the UK’s reputation in fighting fraud and corruption. The apparent decision to drop the proposal also comes just after the announcement that the SFO has charged Barclays Bank and four of its former executives with conspiracy to commit fraud and the provision of unlawful financial assistance.

The apparent change in the Government’s plan and the latest charges against Barclays may prove a lifeline for the SFO, particularly now that its powers continue to gain some traction. However, this is not the first time the Government has tried to abolish the SFO and, whilst the charges against Barclays go in its favour, it may still have to work hard to keep its place as a prosecuting authority. A senior official has said that the Government continues to “review options”. Nevertheless, the recent hefty settlements with Rolls-Royce and with Tesco highlight the progress the SFO is now making and it could be that the options being reviewed shift from abolition to funding.

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About this Author

Garon Anthony, Squire Patton Boggs, litigation attorney
Partner

Garon Anthony is a partner in the Litigation Practice Group. He has specialised in dispute resolution work since he qualified as a solicitor and has considerable experience in general corporate and commercial litigation work, acting for both private and public sector clients.

Garon regularly resolves disputes for clients in the financial services/insurance sector. That encompasses professional negligence, fraud issues/recovery processes, dealing with claims and complaints by customers of the mis-selling of retail products, handling insurance policy coverage disputes for corporate...

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Associate

Rose Castle is an associate in the Litigation team with expertise in general commercial litigation. Rose qualified in September 2015 after completing her training contract with the firm.

Rose regularly acts for a diverse client base, including individuals and companies, from SMEs to PLCs. Rose has experience advising on a wide-range of matters of both a contractual and tortious nature, including breach of contract, breach of warranty, debt recovery, professional negligence and insurance.

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