NEWS – “without comment”

Posted by: Ian (D. Withers)

How can Lisa Osofsky save the Serious Fraud Office?

Tony McClements

October 25, 2022

Last week, SFO head Lisa Osofsky told British lawmakers that she regretted the agency’s “damaging relationship” with an American private investigator during a major corruption probe into oil consultancy Unaoil, which ultimately led to three UK convictions being overturned.

Appearing before Parliament’s Justice Committee, Osofsky apologized for holding a private meeting with David Tinsley, a middleman working for individuals that the SFO was investigating, days after she joined the anti-fraud watchdog as director.

(A dual U.S./UK national, Osofsky began her career working as a U.S. federal prosecutor, later joining the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice).

The SFO was found to have denied three men a fair trial by withholding evidence of its inappropriate dealings with Tinsley, a fixer hired by members of Unaoil’s founding Ahsani family, who sought to persuade two defendants to plead guilty in return for lenient treatment for his clients.

Osofsky said in front of the Justice Committee, “I did it. Do I regret that I did that? Absolutely. Do I wish I had done things differently? I do. I see the impact on our office and victims.”

These events take place against a more troubling backdrop, with the SFO hit by a series of high-profile failures which have led some to call into question its future. Yet Max Hill KC, the head of the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – which prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative organizations in England and Wales – has stated that there is no prospect of the beleaguered SFO merging with another law enforcement agency…………..