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SFO suspends lawyer leading investigation into Unaoil

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has suspended the lawyer in charge of one of its most high-profile investigations just weeks before its new director is due to start.
Senior investigator Tom Martin, who has been with the agency for over four years and has been managing its investigation into oil consultancy ­Unaoil, has been suspended over allegations of gross misconduct.
Further details are yet to surface and an SFO spokesman declined to comment. The suspension was first reported by Sky News.
Unaoil is one of the biggest investigations ever conducted by the SFO and it has embroiled a number of UK-listed companies, including Rio Tinto. The investigation began over two years ago and centres around allegations the firm acted as a “middleman” in securing lucrative service contracts for a fee.
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The agency started criminal proceedings against two of Unaoil’s companies in June, having already charged four individuals with alleged conspiracy to make corrupt payments in order to secure contracts in Iraq.
Mr Martin, who previously worked for audit watchdog the Financial Reporting Council, could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.
SFO suspends lawyer leading investigation into Unaoil

The investigation has embroiled mining giant Rio Tinto

Credit:
Jason Reed/REUTERS
The suspension comes at a sensitive time for the white-collar crime authority, as its new director Lisa Osofsky is due to take up her post next month.
It was almost folded into the National Crime Agency (NCA) when Theresa May was home secretary, a plan that was later scrapped. At the time, Ms Osofsky said a plan to fold it into the NCA would give the Prime Minister “the biggest bang for her buck”. She said more recently those comments did not represent her current view.
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