The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is not being taken seriously. One of Britain’s biggest corruption trials collapsed yesterday, with the fraud agency blaming the withdrawal of key witnesses – two of whom are partners from US firm Akin Gump – on the sudden end to the case.
The SFO accused businessman Victor Dahdaleh of paying $67m in bribes to the business. Akin Gump is acting for the former managers of Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) in the US.
“The defence have raised issues questioning Akin Gump’s role in the provision of assistance to the Serious Fraud Office,” a statement from the SFO told Southwark Crown court yesterday. “[..] Both as to what their motives may have been in the dissemination of material and assistance as to witnesses who could provide relevant information.”
Slapped wrists to Akin Gump, but this has certainly taken the heat off Dahdaleh’s former counsel Allen & Overy. You might recall the firm was hit with allegations of witness interference from the SFO last month, losing the mandate to Norton Rose Fulbright.
Relief at A&O, red faces at the SFO.
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