Fraud squad successfully puts funds linked to Chad oil corruption claims on ice

Hayley Kirton
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The property freezing order was first put in place in 2014 (Source: Getty)

The fraud squad has today secured a property freezing order worth over £4m.

The Court of Appeal decided to enforce the property freezing order against Ikram Mahamat Saleh, covering £4.4m plus interest, which represents the sale proceeds of 800,000 shares in Canadian oil and gas company Caracal Energy, formerly known as Griffiths Energy International.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) alleges Saleh, the wife of the former deputy chief of mission for Chad in the USA, acquired the shares as a result of a series of corrupt transactions, which involved personnel and companies connected to diplomatic staff at the Chad Embassy in Washington, set up in a bid to further the company's commercial interests.

Saleh first challenged the order, which was put in place in July 2014, in July 2015. She contended an earlier order by a Canadian court, which her lawyers argued showed she was innocent in the involvement of the indictments in question and therefore her shares were not the proceeds of crime, prevented the assets in question from being frozen under UK law.

The judge in the earlier case did not accept this argument, and neither did a trio of judges at the Court of Appeal.

"If the Canadian Order were to preclude the SFO from pursuing the proceedings in this jurisdiction, it would be inconsistent with the statutory regime established by the Proceeds of Crime Act," said Lord Justice Simon.

Now the appeal has been settled, the SFO will purse a civil recover order in the case.

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