Two former Serco executives had been cleared of hiding £12m in income from the company’s govt digital tagging contracts after the Critical Fraud Workplace (SFO) dropped the prosecution.
Former senior managers Nicholas Woods, 51, and Simon Marshall, 59, had been on trial at Southwark Crown Courtroom accused of fraud in opposition to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) between 2011 and 2013.
However on Monday, pass judgement on Mrs Justice Tipples directed jurors to acquit Mr Woods – ex-finance director for Serco house affairs – and Mr Marshall – former operations director of box products and services – of a joint price of fraud on or about 11 August 2011.
Mr Marshall used to be additionally cleared of 2 additional counts of fraud on or about 6 June 2012 and on or about 18 January 2013.
It comes after the SFO presented no additional proof following a failed software to adjourn the case after issues of the disclosure procedure, the place prosecutors are anticipated to make related paperwork to be had to the defence.
The pass judgement on advised jurors the SFO took the view that problems recognized had “undermined the method of disclosure on this case to the level that the trial can’t safely and moderately continue”.
It brings an finish to an investigation introduced in October 2013, which noticed Serco hit with a nice of greater than £19m in 2019 as a part of a Deferred Prosecution Settlement (DPA).
That used to be along with the £12.8m reimbursement already paid to the MoJ as a part of a £70m civil agreement in 2013.
Serco Geografix, the corporate’s UK subsidiary, took duty for 3 offences of fraud and two of false accounting dedicated between 2010 and 2013, in terms of the understating of income from contracts with the MoJ.
Andrew Katzen, representing Mr Woods, mentioned: “Even though the SFO’s resolution to drop its prosecution is a welcome vindication of my consumer, the truth that it has performed this after an eight-year-long legal investigation – and 3 weeks into an ordeal – will have to be an issue of profound worry to everybody serious about justice.”
He added: “It’s notable that on this case – simply as in different identical contemporary failed fraud prosecutions – the SFO signed a DPA with Serco wherein the corporate, in go back for keeping off company prosecution, admitted wrongdoing and co-operated with the investigation.
“A story used to be thus created wherein the duty of Serco and its senior officers had been marginalised, and blame used to be as an alternative forged on Mr Woods, a small cog in a large wheel.”
Wooden’s added: “This verdict is a vindication and brings a huge sense of reduction realizing that I had by no means dedicated any offence and that I have been clear in my movements from the very get started.”
Initially of the case, prosecutor Michael Bowes QC advised jurors that between October 2010 and September 2012, Serco allegedly decreased its obvious income from £27m to £15m, concealing an additional £12m.
Marshall’s attorney Neil Swift, who’s a spouse at Peters & Peters Solicitors, mentioned: “Mr Marshall is after all very relieved that he’s vindicated.
However there may be a way of indignation that the SFO’s case will have to fold on this means, after hanging our consumer via 8 years of unfounded legal allegations.”
Marshall mentioned: “I’m extraordinarily relieved to had been acquitted of all fees following the cave in of the SFO’s case this morning.
“During the last 8 years, I’ve made transparent that I acted correctly and truthfully in all my paintings at Serco.
“Those lawsuits came about following a Deferred Prosecution Settlement concluded between Serco and the SFO, a procedure wherein I had no involvement. While that settlement used to be definitely handy for the SFO, Serco and the federal government, it didn’t replicate the truth of what came about.”