The High Court has today handed down its judgment following judicial review proceedings heard in May 2012 brought against the Serious Fraud Office by Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz and companies and trusts through which their business was conducted.
The SFO had conceded that serious mistakes were made in connection with the application for search warrants in this case but notes the reasoned tone of the judgment and the helpful comments it contains.
The judgment and the SFO's concession highlight the importance of quality and accuracy in the drafting of information supporting warrant applications. This focus on quality underlies the reorganisation of the SFO already conducted by the new Director, David Green CB QC. The restructuring and recent senior appointments are designed to provide inbuilt layers of quality assurance and avoid the repetition of such errors.
The SFO will provide any assistance required to the suggested review of the process of obtaining warrants. The SFO will bring in specialist knowledge as and when required.
We note that the Court declined to consider the merits of the future of the investigation, this being the responsibility of the SFO as an investigating and prosecuting authority. The SFO will continue with the investigation with renewed focus and vigour.
Notes for editors:
- On 18 June 2012, following a review by the SFO of the status of Vincent Tchenguiz, he was no longer considered to be a suspect in the investigation and his bail conditions cancelled.
- SFO Director David Green CB QC took up post on 23 April 2012. He proceeded to reorganise the SFO with a strong emphasis on rebuilding the organisation to include layers of quality control at case management level, divisional oversight and senior level in-house advisors.
- The full judgment together with a summary to assist the media can be found on the Judiciary website.
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