The UK's Shadow Attorney General has strongly criticised the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) - including its former chief investigator, Kevin Davis, who now runs Guernsey’s Economic and Financial Crime Bureau.
Mr Davis, pictured top left, was chief investigator at the time of a bungled corruption investigation into a Monaco-based oil company. The SFO's case initially led to convictions and jail sentences before they were quashed when the Court of Appeal found the SFO had failed to disclose vital evidence.
The SFO case led by Mr Davis is now the subject of an independent review set up by the Attorney General, Suella Braverman.
Last week, she announced that the review will be led by Sir David Calvert-Smith, a former Director of Public Prosecutions and High Court Judge.
Ms Braverman's shadow, Emily Thornberry, pictured top right, said the SFO's handling of the Unaoil case was an example of the authorities' “utterly hopeless approach to tackling fraud”.
Tinsley contacted the Director of the SFO Lisa Osofsky, pitching himself as a middleman between the SFO and FBI. The Court of Appeal record shows a “super honoured” Osofsky organising a "solid hour together" with Tinsley to discuss the case. No notes were made of the meeting. 3/9 pic.twitter.com/FcUGZ4RZvP— Emily Thornberry (@EmilyThornberry) February 9, 2022
When Akle was originally tried, the SFO did not disclose these dealings or any other evidence of the frequent contact SFO staff had with Tinsley. Kevin Davies – the SFO’s Chief Investigator – ‘accidentally’ deleted his phone data, for the second time in less than a year. 4/9 pic.twitter.com/3mpXjZoj89— Emily Thornberry (@EmilyThornberry) February 9, 2022
Some of the SFO's failings in the case were related to Mr Davis being unable to retrieve messages from his phone for the second time in a matter of months.
Announcing the appointment of Sir David Calvert-Smith, the Attorney General said: “Sir David is a former Director of Public Prosecutions and High Court judge who has led several independent reviews including one into racism within the police service.
"Sir David has previously been named a ‘changemaker within criminal justice’.
“The Review will look at what went wrong in the Unaoil case and what changes are needed at the SFO to ensure that the failings identified in the judgment cannot happen again, especially in relation to contact with third parties and disclosure.”
Pictured: The UK's Attorney General, Suella Braverman, announced that Sir David Calvert-Smith would lead the review she has commissioned into the SFO's bungled investigation of the Unaoil corruption scandal.
Mr Calvert-Smith's review will try to answer these questions.
The review's terms of reference make it clear that "the independent reviewer or, at their direction, a member of the support team, will interview any person who, in the view of the independent reviewer, can provide information relevant to the review.
“The report, including any recommendations of the review, will be submitted to the Attorney General by the end of May 2022. The Attorney General will provide the findings of the review and government response to Parliament.”
Express recently asked the Committee for Home Affairs if it expects Mr Davis to be drawn into the investigation being undertaken by the Attorney General's Office.
“It is not considered appropriate for either Home Affairs, or the States of Guernsey, to comment on an independent review involving a specialist prosecuting authority outside of this jurisdiction and outside of our criminal justice system,” said the Committee's Director of Operations, Justice and Regulation, Dave Le Ray.
“Recruitment to posts within the Economic and Financial Crime Bureau is conducted via fair and open competition, following States of Guernsey recruitment policy. Appropriate vetting is always undertaken as part of that recruitment process.”
Pictured: Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, which appointed Kevin Davis and recently received States' approval to turn his post - Director of Economic and Financial Crime - into a statutory role with wide legal powers.
Mr Davis was appointed Director of Guernsey’s Economic and Financial Crime Bureau as the Committee for Home Affairs put in place preparations for a crucial inspection of the island by MoneyVAL in 2023.
The international body will assess Guernsey’s compliance with standards for combatting financial crime. The Bureau will help prepare the island for the inspection.
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