21 Dec 2021

Andrew Smith writes for Accountancy Daily on Corporate Accounting Scandals and the SFO

Partner Andrew Smith has written an article for Accountancy Daily discussing recent corporate accounting scandals and the role of the Serious Fraud Office.

“Recently, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) closed its six-year investigation into accounting practices at Quindell plc. Not that anyone searching the SFO’s website would have found it easy to track down the announcement. The front page remained dominated by the (older) news of Petrofac’s guilty plea the previous week.

Whilst past deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) glories such as Rolls-Royce and Airbus continued to stand proud in the list of ‘our cases’, Quindell had seemingly vanished. It would have taken a determined reader to discover that all references to Quindell were in an obscure section of the SFO website called the ‘case archive’.

It is only right that the SFO broadcasts its successes. The SFO has announced recent DPAs with interactive maps, replete with colourful arrows and figures illustrating the flow and size of the corrupt payments. It is unfortunate that the SFO can sometimes be less than forthcoming in announcing the outcomes of investigations other than guilty pleas or multimillion pound fines.

The SFO recently advertised a PR position for a candidate who ‘will help to raise the profile of the SFO’s efforts, to creatively tell our story and maintain a trusted and respected brand’. A trusted and respected prosecutor, with a duty to act in the public interest, would tell its story transparently, acknowledging its failures as well as its successes. ”

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