The SFO offered no evidence and accepted liability for defence costs today in the trial against ex-Serco executives accused of providing false information to the Ministry of Justice under an offender-tagging contract.
Two former executives at outsourcer Serco were accused of perpetrating a “fraud on the taxpayer” by concealing profits related to a contract for the electronic tagging of offenders. Former Serco executives Nicholas Woods and Simon Marshall have been in trial for nearly 4 weeks at Southwark Crown Court and this morning the Crown took the decision to offer no evidence on charges of fraud in relation to the tagging of offenders between 2011 and 2013.
The trial was the culmination of the SFO’s long-running investigation into the way in which senior employees of Serco — one of Britain’s largest outsourcers — allegedly defrauded the government out of many millions of pounds. Woods and Marshall, former finance director of Serco Home Affairs and operations director of field services respectively, allegedly devised a scheme with another employee to understate the true profitability of the company’s contract in financial models submitted to the government. The SFO concluded a DPA with Serco in 2019. With this morning’s decision, both Mr Marshall and Mr Woods have been exonerated of any criminal wrong-doing.
Adrian Darbishire, Tom Doble and Zara Brawley were instructed by Neil Swift of Peters & Peters. Karen Robinson and Katherine Lloyd were instructed by Andrew Katzen of Hickman & Rose.
The case was widely reported in the national press. See here for coverage by the Financial Times.