Top judge to beef up Fraud Office after string of bungles

QC with a terrifying reputation as a judge hired by new head of the SFO

The new head of the embattled Serious Fraud Office has put a tough former judge on the payroll to aid his attempts at cracking down on City crime.

David Green, who last Friday launched an investigation into the Libor scandal and reopened its inquiry into the Weavering hedge fund, has hired Geoffrey Rivlin QC to advise him on bringing cases to court.

Mr Green is trying to improve the SFO's reputation for competence following its bungled investigation into Vincent Tchenguiz, which resulted in the organisation dropping its case and apologising to the tycoon.

Mr Green, who has practised as a QC himself, said Mr Rivlin will focus on making sure cases are of a high quality when they reach the courts.

Mr Rivlin, who retired last year as senior resident judge at Southwark Crown Court, is to be paid £100,000 a year for the role, which lasts for two years. He had a terrifying reputation among senior lawyers. The Eversheds partner Neill Blundell, said: "He was an absolute stickler for detail. Extremely pernickity. Boy did you know it if you got it wrong in his court." He added that Mr Rivlin would be extremely effective at killing off unwinnable cases in their early stages, or recommending improvements. "It's extremely innovative of Mr Green," he said.

Another leading fraud lawyer said: "He'll be brilliant at making sure cases are in good nick when they come to trial. But I pity the people working for him. He's not very likeable. Like a lot of judges, he's worked on his own for a long time. How will he be able to manage people at the SFO?"

Mr Rivlin will support the work of another newcomer to the organisation, Alan Milford, currently head of organised crime at the Crown Prosecution Service.

Mr Green, who took over from Richard Alderman in April, arrived on a mission to, in his words: "recharge the SFO's corporate self-respect and lead it to the top of its game as a major crime fighting agency".

Lawyers said the move could help to improve morale at the organisation, which has seen a number of notable departures. "We're talking here about an organisation known for people leaving, either for other regulators, or better-paid jobs with big American law firms. News of big names arriving has got to be good," said one lawyer.

The SFO's staff were told of the moves yesterday in an address in which Mr Green was accompanied by Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General. Grieve in February reportedly ordered a probe into the running of the organisation to be carried out by the head of the CPS Inspectorate, after the collapse of several major investigations.

Mr Rivlin has tried many cases over his long career as a judge, famously jailing for seven years the chief executive of the collapsed Independent Insurance empire.

SFO slip-ups

2012 Tchenguiz brothers inquiry leaves it forced to admit a series of mistakes and apologising to Vincent Tchenguiz.

2011 Dropped probe into Weavering just weeks before a successful civil claim. Has now resumed case.

2010 Drops investigation into the disastrous collapse of AIG Financial Products – a major player in the financial crisis.

2010 Ceases inquiries into the Madoff UK division, leaving the investigation to overseas authorities.

2010 Controversially drops inquiry into BAE Tanzanian defence contract in return for £29.5m charity donation from BAE.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?