LONDON Jan 30 Britain's leading fraud
prosecutor needs an extra 19 million pounds ($31.45 million) by
the end of March to help to pay for complex investigations,
including a high-profile benchmark fixing inquiry, and a huge
The SFO said on Thursday the extra funding was needed in
part for its inquiry into Libor (London interbank offered rate)
benchmark fixing, a probe into Barclays' fundraising
from Qatar, a Rolls Royce investigation and to meet costs
linked to a 300 million pound damages suit launched by the
property moguls the Tchenguiz brothers.
"This funding is 'blockbuster' funding for the course of our
investigation and prosecution work in the remainder of this
financial year," the agency said in a statement.
Solicitor General Oliver Heald said the Serious Fraud Office
(SFO), which can request extra cash from the Treasury (finance
department) as so-called "blockbuster funding" to beef up a
tight annual budget of around 28 million pounds, needed an 11
million pound advance on the 19 million urgently.
"The SFO has incurred higher than anticipated expenditure
and a reserve claim has been agreed by HM Treasury as part of
the supplementary estimate 2013-14 process," Heald, a government
lawyer, said in a written ministerial statement.
"The advance is required to meet an urgent cash requirement
on existing services pending parliamentary approval ...," he
The SFO, which last requested such funding five years ago,
has already received 5 million pounds in blockbuster funding for
the financial year to March 31.
SFO head David Green, who took over as director in April
2012, has been tasked with restoring confidence in the agency by
bringing criminals and companies to book after a period of
mismanagement that has damaged the SFO's reputation.
He has staked his reputation on the success of high-profile
investigations such as the sprawling global investigation into
Emily Thornberry, the opposition Labour Party's "shadow
attorney general" or spokeswoman on judicial affairs, said it
was entirely predictable that the scale and pace of budget cuts
inflicted on the SFO would make it impossible for the agency to
prosecute its caseload.
"This is not a government that takes economic crime
seriously, which is why it is allowing the SFO to stagger from
crisis to crisis and providing temporary sticking plasters where
what is needed is a long-term plan to put it on a sustainable
footing," she said in an emailed statement.