The 2014-15 report was published today.
The main issues from the report are:
- 16 new investigations were opened in 2014-15, including those concerning Forex, Tesco and the Swett Group.
- The conviction rate was 78%, down from 85% the previous year.
- Confiscation orders totaling £26.5m were obtained, including £13.9m in the Edward Davenport case, and £13.7m was recovered.
- 30 defendants are currently awaiting trial, including 12 in the LIBOR investigation.
- The SFO are “actively considering the possibility” of Deferred Prosecution Agreements in “a number of cases”.
- The SFO’s special advisor, Geoffrey Rivlin QC, will be departing the SFO on 31st July 2015.
- The total cost of settling claims against Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz was £7.5m. The final payment will come in 2015-16.
The report did not mention the costs incurred by the High Court judgement in R v Evans, which are still to be assessed.
2014-15 has been a mixed year for the SFO. Whereas the office will be delighted to finally see the back of legacy issues, and can point to several “firsts” in corporate and Bribery Act convictions, we are yet to see convictions in the type of “casework for which the Roskill model was designed” – the opening line of the Director’s forward. Confiscation shows an upward trend. DPAs may be in the discussion stage, but the language used in the report is somewhat tepid.
Finally, the jury in the first trial relating to LIBOR – R v Hayes, is due to retire towards the end of this month