The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) recently received an unexpected, yet significant, increase in baseline funding for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The funding boost comes in spite of Prime Minister Theresa May’s previous efforts, following several high-profile prosecutorial setbacks for the SFO, to fold it into the UK’s National Crime Agency (“NCA”). Relatedly, a new funding arrangement addresses prior concerns of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) about potential conflicts of interest. It is probable that these changes will enable the SFO to better develop and retain internal talent. These developments should come as good news to Lisa Osofsky, the newly appointed Director of the SFO who will begin her renewable five year term on September 3, 2018.
In this two-part post, we look first at the alleged chequered history of the SFO, seemingly causative of attempts by the government over time to disband it, before then focusing on a remarkable turnaround in its fortunes, both figuratively and literally.