SFO clocks up 72 cases in one year

THE SERIOUS Fraud Office worked on a total of 72 cases during the year from 5 April 1994 to 4 April 1995, says its annual report.

Thirteen trials were concluded resulting in the conviction of 16 individuals and 15 defendants were acquitted.

The workload was dominated by fraud on banks, financial institutions, and on creditors of companies with 21 cases each. There were 14 cases of fraud on investors and five cases of fraud on central or local government.

During the SFO's seven-year life there have been 312 defendants and 194 convictions. Over 75 per cent of trials resulted in at least one conviction.

-The SFO has launched an internal inquiry in relation to its handling of the investigation involving Michael Ward of European Leisure, convicted of fraud. Ward claims papers stolen from his home were subsequently used by the SFO in his trial. The SFO says nothing has yet been found to cast doubt on the integrity of either the investigation or prosecution.