Major fraud case jeopardised after SFO errors
The investigation into the Tchenguiz brothers for a string of corporate fraud offences may soon collapse, following an admission by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that critical errors were made during the investigation.
The Telegraph reports that the SFO has been forced to admit to allegations that the arrest warrants used against Robert Tchenguiz and his brother earlier this year were faulty, and have written to the brothers to explain their mistake. A spokesman for Mr. Tchenguiz has said: “The SFO… now understand the allegations they made were not true, and had information from which they knew this was untrue.”
Correspondence from the SFO also revealed the identity of a key witness in the agency’s case, further fuelling suspicion that it may not be allowed to proceed any further. A spokesman for the agency has now admitted that a material piece of evidence is not as reliable as they once thought, stating “the allegation concerning the financial statement was inadvertently miscast”.
This comes as a further blow to the ailing crime agency, as it currently faces a serious shortfall in confidence and resources. This blunder is worsened by the level of investment dedicated to investigating the case – sources claim that up to 20 serious fraud investigators were working on the case, amounting to vast sums of money and man hours.
It remains to be seen whether or not this serious fraud case will go ahead, although it is unclear how the SFO could continue in such turbulent circumstances.
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