Dealing with dawn raids by the Serious Fraud Office
Produced in partnership with Michael Potts of PCB Byrne

The following Risk & Compliance practice note produced in partnership with Michael Potts of PCB Byrne provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dealing with dawn raids by the Serious Fraud Office
  • What is the SFO?
  • Main reasons for a SFO raid
  • Powers
  • Execution of a warrant
  • Penalties
  • Further information

Dealing with dawn raids by the Serious Fraud Office

What is the SFO?

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigates serious or complex frauds and corruption that often involve an international element or are otherwise likely to attract publicity. The SFO states that it takes on a small number of large economic crime cases. In considering whether to take on an investigation, the Director of the SFO applies the Statement of Principle, which includes consideration of:

  1. whether the apparent criminality undermines UK PLC commercial or financial interests in general and in the City of London in particular

  2. whether the actual or potential financial loss involved is high

  3. whether actual or potential economic harm is significant

  4. whether there is a significant public interest element, and

  5. whether there is new species of fraud

The SFO covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not Scotland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

Main reasons for a SFO raid

The SFO website also has a reporting function that identifies three main types of criminality that may be reported to the SFO as follows:

  1. fraud or financially motivated internet crime (such as online scams or consumer fraud)

  2. serious fraud, bribery or corruption (eg, as a whistleblower, or on behalf of a company making a self-report)

  3. another type of criminal activity (such as benefit fraud, tax evasion, illegal immigration, or drug-related offences)

The SFO may raid

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