SFO faces inspection following Tchenguiz errors

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The Attorney General has called for an inspection of operations at the Serious Fraud Office following errors in its investigation of the property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz.

The inquiry follows admissions of error by the SFO in December, when it admitted that warrants used to search the home and office of Tchenguiz were defective.

The inquiry will be conducted by the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.

Inspections of other groups such as the prison service are routine but it is the first time the SFO has been examined in this way.

Vincent Tchenguiz and his brother, Robert, were both arrested and subsequently released without charge in March 2011 as part of an investigation into the collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing, along with seven other men.

An official in the Attorney General’s office told the Times: “The law officers and director of the Serious Fraud Office agreed that it would be useful for the SFO to be inspected, particularly as there is shortly to be a new director. There is no statutory requirement for the SFO to be inspected but it can be, by invitation. Inspections are routine for many criminal-justice agencies. Independent inspections are good practice.”

The SFO is yet to comment on the matter.

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