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SFO Director Green: ‘There are plenty of foxes for the hounds to chase down’

Image courtesy of the SFOAt Pinsent Masons regulatory conference in London a few weeks ago, David Green, the chief of the UK Serious Fraud Office, talked about how many known frauds happen on his turf. Here's a hint: Lock up the silverware because it's a growth industry.

In the 12 months to April 2014, Green said, 211,000 frauds were recorded by police in England and Wales, up 17% over the previous year.

Industry bodies reported another 333,000 frauds over the same period, up 2%.

Total frauds recorded by police 2011-2014 rose by 40%.

The SFO doesn't handle all of those. It's there for only "top end fraud and bribery investigations," Green said -- those demanding special skills and lots of resources.

As examples, Green mentioned Libor, Forex, Rolls Royce, GSK, Barclays, G4S and Serco, GPT, Alstom, ENRC and Sweett Group, and "significant" money laundering activity through London.

"This list is by no means exhaustive," Green said. "It undoubtedly constitutes a critical mass for the SFO as a specialist crime fighting organization. It represents the most demanding caseload the SFO has ever shouldered and we do so with ambition, focus and determination."

About the SFO's special relationship with the DOJ in Washington, Green said he's been building more bridges for the past two years. And it's hands-on work.

"I have just returned from there with a number of SFO colleagues," he said.

"We have mutual interest in a number of investigations: Libor and Forex are obvious examples; there are others."

Green said the SFO and DOJ are preparing to swap some people through secondments.

"Everybody appreciates that there are plenty of foxes for the hounds to chase down," Green said, "and that really close cooperation shuts off opportunities for forum shopping and tactical play by suspects and their advisors."

His full remarks are here.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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