22 Jun 2017
There was no mention in the Queen’s Speech yesterday of Theresa May’s controversial plan to incorporate the Serious Fraud Office into the much larger National Crime Agency. This is a strong indication that the merger—along with numerous key pledges from the Conservative general election manifesto—is no longer government policy. The Speech set out the government’s agenda for the next two years, so at the least, the merger is way down at the bottom of its to-do list.
The pledge was broadly criticised by industry experts, including KYC360’s own Tom Devlin. It was feared that few SFO employees would want to move to the NCA, and so the agency’s unique expertise in investigating and prosecuting complex financial crime would be lost.
A day before the Queen’s Speech, the SFO made the bold announcement that it had charged Barclays Plc, and four of the bank’s former senior executives, for actions linked to the 2008 financial crisis—a decision which the agency had previous delayed several times.
The apparent policy change has been welcomed by legal and enforcement professionals.
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