SFO seek “Blockbuster funding”

The Serious Fraud Office has made a fresh request for “blockbuster funding” to cover several high-profile investigations including its probe into the manipulation of the Libor benchmark.

The SFO, whose budget is £35.2m for this year, has asked for £26.5m more to cover significant investigations and to settle liabilities. The request comes nine months after it topped up its budget in the previous financial year with £19m in extra funding.

Robert Buckland, the solicitor general, said in a written statement to Parliament today that the SFO has applied for a cash advance from the Treasury’s Contingencies Fund to tide it over.

The SFO has several complex investigations underway including probes into possible bribery and corruption at Rolls-Royce in China and Indonesia, and a two-year examination of Barclays’ relationship with Qatar Holdings. The organisation also recently settled damages claims brought by the property tycoons Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz after an investigation into the brothers collapsed.

A string of criminal cases that stemmed from the SFO’s Libor investigation are progressing through the courts, resulting in the first guilty plea in the English courts earlier this month.