Peters & Peters

Former senior police officer replaces lawyer as SFO director – Neil Swift quoted in the media

The Attorney General, Victoria Prentis KC MP, has announced that former senior police officer Nick Ephgrave QPM will be the next director at the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Ephgrave was assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in charge of frontline policing between 2019 and 2022 and, before this, he was the Chief Constable for Surrey Police between December 2015 and February 2019.

He will take over from current director, Lisa Osofsky, in September.

Neil Swift was quoted extensively in the press, including the Law Society Gazette, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph, commenting on the appointment.

Neil said:

“The main challenge for this new director will be to choose the direction of travel. Will he continue to prioritise the pursuit of corporate scalps, whether through guilty pleas or DPAs, or will he shift focus back to executives? The SFO’s track record suggests that it cannot do both.

“There are clear benefits to be had from at least a temporary refocus. One of the most effective ways of changing boardroom and corporate behaviour is to prosecute and convict executives. This would give rise to a fear factor that is currently lacking, and show that the SFO can take on big cases and win.

“However the likely enactment of a statute that makes it easier to prosecute companies suggests otherwise. This signals an expectation that the SFO will look to extract more penalties from more companies.

“The immediate challenge for the new director will be to ensure that disclosure ceases being an albatross around the SFO’s neck.”


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