In an Evening Standard article published on 26 April 2019, Lisa Osofsky, Director of the SFO, said she plans to work with HMRC to uncover tax breaches and tell offenders “You can spend 20 years in jail for what you did or wear a wire and work with us.”
This is yet another example of her proposed strategy of identifying, flipping and working with informants in order to uncover serious fraudulent crimes and “bring [a case] to life” before a jury. She referenced the Fifa case as an example of this strategy being successfully deployed in the US. “[T]he IRS and the FBI stopping Chuck Blazer on a street corner in New York — he’s got tax exposure.” Blazer was a Fifa executive committee member who later turned informant for the US government in its investigation of the Fifa corruption scandal.
In the same interview, Lisa Osofsky also praised the introduction of unexplained wealth orders to target illicit cash, but admitted that the SFO had yet to find a single suitable case. She also revealed that anonymous politicians had told her the SFO was achieving too high a conviction rate and should focus on more difficult cases.
When Lisa Osofsky joined the SFO last year, she pledged to bring in US style prosecution techniques and work closely with fellow law enforcement agencies. This strategy of working with HMRC to flip informants is yet another example of these pledges in action.