UK Bribery Act: Serious Fraud Office announces its first prosecutions

By Raymond L Sweigart

On 14 August, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced that four men connected to Sustainable AgroEnergy plc have been charged with offences of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to furnish false information, contrary to section one of the Criminal Law Act 1977, in connection with the promotion and selling of ‘bio fuel’ investment products to UK investors.

The value of the alleged fraud is asserted to be approximately £23m and the offences are said to have taken place between April 2011 and February 2012. As a secondary point, SFO added that three of the four men have also been charged with offences of making and accepting a financial advantage contrary to section one and two of the Bribery Act 2010.

Although the SFO is supposed to be the so-called lead prosecutor of Bribery Act offenses, many have questioned the time it has taken for the SFO to announce so much as a Bribery Act investigation…

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