THE UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is pushing for the UK’s current disclosure framework to be reformed and brought into the 21st century, City A.M. has learned.
The head of the fraud agency, Lisa Osofsky, is expected to use a speech in Cambridge tomorrow to call for an overhaul of the current disclosure regime, which was designed before the advent of mass digital data.
High-profile corporate fraud and bribery probes now generate millions of documents per case. But these have to be manually reviewed, which the SFO argues allows for human error in the disclosure process.
The trial of two former Serco executives, charged with fraud and false accounting, collapsed in April last year after the agency failed to disclose evidence to the defendants.
It was reported earlier this year that the SFO has now outsourced the reviewing of evidence to a private firm in its case against G4S, following disclosure issues in previous cases.
Susan Hawley, executive director of Spotlight on Corruption, said that disclosure was definitely “causing the SFO a headache.”
“It does need looking at, but the problems with disclosure are far deeper,” Hawley said, pointing to other issues such as lack of resources.
As well as demanding a change to the country’s disclosure rules, Osofsky will say that she is “ambitious for the SFO’s future,”
Osofsky, who has approximately one year left of her five year term, will look to improve the SFO’s “influence,” within the possibilities of a “limited budget,” by modernising its use of technology in investigations and strengthening its relationships with international counterparts.