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SFO requests “blockbuster” funding

13th Jan 2016

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has asked the Treasury for extra funding, which amounts to 60% of its budget, to pay for major investigations.

Solicitor general Robert Buckland QC wrote a ministerial statement which stated that the SFO is asking for a cash advance of £15.5m from the contingencies fund to meet “an urgent cash requirement for existing services” to maintain the SFO until parliament approves the full £21.1m of extra funding it has requested.

The request for the “blockbuster” funding comes in addition to a £10m top-up the fraud agency has already received this year.

The latest request amounts to more than 60% of the SFO’s £33.8m budget for the 2015-2016 financial year. Along with the additional £10m, the agency’s budget is almost double what was originally allocated.

If the funding request is granted, this will leave the fraud agency’s annual budget set to hit £64.9m this year, increasing it by 13% from the £57.4m it received last year.

Buckland said that the funding would be used to cover the cost of “significant investigations and the settlement of material liabilities”.

The application for additional funding comes days after the office announced that in February it will begin to charge the 11 individuals accused of rigging the Euribor interest rate.

Other ongoing investigations by the SFO include alleged bribery at the engineering group Rolls-Royce, claims of overseas corruption at GSK, and a probe into commercial arrangements between Barclays and Qatar Holdings.