The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced that it has secured almost £1.2 million from Julio Faerman, owner of a luxury London flat which the SFO suspected to have been partly purchased with the proceeds of his criminal conduct in Brazil.
According to the SFO’s press release, during ‘Operation Car Wash’, the investigation by Brazilian prosecutors into bribery and corruption in the state oil company Petrobras, Mr. Faerman admitted to paying bribes to win contracts while acting as an agent for the Dutch company SBM Offshore NV in Brazil.
The SFO’s civil recovery investigation into Mr. Faerman’s UK assets focused on his Kensington property, worth £4.25 million, along with a number of Swiss bank accounts and offshore companies that were used to fund the property’s purchase. The SFO have indicated that these accounts received payments from Mr. Faerman’s work as an agent in Brazil.
The SFO secured a freezing order on the property in January 2019 to prevent its sale during their investigation. The authority also secured a disclosure order to trace Mr. Faerman’s commissions during the period of criminal activity, despite his appeal to discharge such order in June 2020.
Although the SFO intended to bring a civil recovery claim against Mr. Faerman, it has now agreed a settlement whereby he will pay £1,198,424.78 and the SFO’s £57,000 costs, with both the aforementioned freezing and disclosure orders remaining in place until the amount is paid.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland and the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service have cooperated with the SFO on this case, highlighting the authority’s focus on the importance of international cooperation.
The SFO’s Head of the Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance Division, Liz Baker, used this opportunity to emphasise the authority’s “clear message” that it “will continue to investigate, confiscate and recover criminal assets which are held on our shores”.