SFO drops prosecution of biotech millionaire Sir Christopher Evans

BIOTECH millionaire Sir Christopher Evans will not be prosecuted for alleged fraud after a four-year probe into his venture capital firm Merlin Biosciences was dropped.<br /><br />The Serious Fraud Office has been investigating Evans over claims from a former employee that he had paid between &pound;1m and &pound;2.5m into a shell company of unknown ownership.<br /><br />But the SFO said yesterday it will not be bringing charges against Evans. The SFO said: &ldquo;Following a detailed review of the evidence gathered in the course of a thorough investigation it has been concluded that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.&rdquo;<br /><br />Evans, who has a personal fortune estimated at &pound;150m, has always denied the allegations.<br /><br />The move draws a line under a difficult five years for the entrepreneur, who was cleared of wrongdoing in the cash-for-honours inquiry in 2007.<br /><br />During its investigation, the SFO traced complex financial arrangements associated with Merlin and tracked money between Switzerland, Guernsey and Luxembourg.<br /><br />Five people were interviewed as suspects and 40 people as witnesses. Evans has always denied wrongdoing.