Barings fraud inquiry frozen
Friday 30 June 1995
The SFO's decision to reduce its interest in the affair follows advice from its top accountant working on the case. Following a review of available evidence, Michael Kenney concluded that there were insufficient grounds to justify further investigations.
Mr Kenney gave the advice to the SFO two days after George Staple, the office's director, told MPs that the inquiry into fraudulent trading, which centres on Barings former directors rather than Nick Leeson, the rogue trader, was still continuing.
"We are talking about investigating matters that could lead to the prosecution of individuals," Mr Staple told members of the Treasury and Civil Service Committee on 12 June.
Mr Kenney, on secondment to the fraud office from the accountants Grant Thornton, was pressed to look further into the financial position of the Barings group immediately before its collapse, after Brian Sedgemore, the Labour MP, had made fresh allegations of fraudulent trading at the bank. At the committee hearing Mr Staple had to field questions from Mr Sedgemore about the state of the SFO's inquiries.
Mr Staple said: "We are still conducting an investigation in this country. Yes." He added: "Fraudulent trading is what the SFO is looking at, we are investigating that . . . If the SFO believes there is a realistic prospect of conviction we will bring charges."
In order to prosecute any directors or former directors of the UK bank for fraudulent trading, the SFO would have to show the directors knew that the losses being clocked up by Mr Leeson in Singapore had put the bank into an insolvent position and that they had none the less continued trading while insolvent for a significant period.
Sources say that, having considered the evidence available, Mr Kenney decided that he had seen nothing to indicate knowledge by the directors of the huge losses incurred on Mr Leeson's notorious account 88 888 until 24 February, the day they approach-ed the Bank of England in an attempt to stave off collapse.
There is still a possibility that investigations may be resumed at some point if further evidence becomes available.
An SFO spokeswoman said allegations of fraudulent trading had been passed on to the office and had been looked into. "We do not normally go into details of an investigation unless a formal decision has been made and to the best of my knowledge there has been no formal decision."
The SFO is co-operating closely with the Bank of England, which is conducting the main City of London investigation into the collapse.
"If their investigation uncovers anything that might be of interest to us, they will pass it to us," the SFO spokeswoman said.
- 1 Green village to be bulldozed and mined for lignite in Germany's quest for non-nuclear fuel
- 4 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Isis could become 'world’s first truly terrorist state' and bomb UK with nuclear and chemical weapons, Theresa May warns
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...