Fraud of­fice to re­view di­rec­tor’s con­duct as judge crit­i­cises ‘flat­ter­ing’ text mes­sages

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Ed Clowes and La­Toya Hard­ing

THE Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice (SFO) is to con­duct a re­view into its di­rec­tor’s be­hav­iour af­ter a judge ac­cused her of fall­ing for “flat­tery”.

Lisa Osof­sky, a for­mer US FBI lawyer, had ex­changed emails and texts with David Tins­ley, an American pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor, who was act­ing for three mem­bers of the Ah­sani fam­ily, which ran Monaco-based oil con­sul­tancy Unaoil.

The judge, Martin Bed­doe, said Ms Osof­sky, as well as other senior SFO mem­bers, should not have had any con­tact with the in­ves­ti­ga­tor, who was seek­ing more favourable sen­tences for his clients and had no le­gal role in the case. The al­le­ga­tions against her were made pub­lic yes­ter­day as it was re­vealed that two for­mer oil ex­ec­u­tives were con­victed for brib­ing of­fi­cials as part of a bid to win lu­cra­tive con­tracts in post-war Iraq. Ziad Akle, 45, a man­ager at Unaoil, and Stephen White­ley, 65, an ex­ec­u­tive at Dutch oil com­pany SBM, were found guilty of pay­ing bribes worth more than $500,000 (£397,000) to se­cure a $55m deal in the Mid­dle East­ern coun­try af­ter the oust­ing of Sad­dam Hus­sein.

The con­vic­tions at South­wark crown court fol­low a three-year in­quiry into il­le­gal pay­ments made by Unaoil and will be a boon for the pros­e­cu­tor af­ter a string of high-pro­file fail­ures. The com­pany is said to have over­seen bribes stretch­ing from Kaza­khstan to Iran.

Lisa Osof­sky, di­rec­tor of the Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice, faces a re­view into her con­tact with a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor

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