Serious Fraud Office
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SFO secures £1.2m following investigation into West London property linked to Brazilian bribery scandal

The SFO recently (12 November 2020) secured £1,198,424.78 from Julio Faerman, the owner of a £4.25m luxury apartment in West London which the SFO suspected to have been partly purchased with the corrupt funds of its owner’s criminal conduct.

The Brazilian national was implicated in Brazil’s ‘Operation Car Wash’, which uncovered systematic bribery to win contracts from the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras. While under investigation by Brazilian prosecutors, Faerman admitted paying bribes to win contracts for the Dutch company SBM Offshore NV, for whom he acted as an agent. He is subject to a co-operation agreement with the Brazilian prosecuting authorities, having paid a settlement of around US$54m.

Following Faerman’s proceedings in Brazil, the SFO opened its own civil recovery investigation into the UK assets it suspected were purchased with the proceeds of Faerman’s criminal conduct.

The SFO’s investigation centred on a £4.25m luxury flat at 8 Tasker Lodge and a number of Swiss bank accounts and offshore companies which it believed part-funded the purchase of the West London property. The investigation suggested that these same accounts received payments gained by Faerman during his time working as an agent for SBM Offshore NV in Brazil.

Liz Baker, Head of the Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance Division, recently said:

“This is an excellent result for the SFO, sending a clear message that we will not sit back and allow the United Kingdom to be a safe harbour for dirty money.

“We will continue to investigate, confiscate and recover criminal assets which are held on our shores.”

In January 2019, the SFO secured a property freezing order on 8 Tasker Lodge, to prevent it being sold while the investigation proceeded, as well as a Disclosure Order to enable the SFO to trace commissions paid to Faerman to facilitate bribes to his purchase of 8 Tasker Lodge. Faerman’s application to discharge this order in June 2020 was dismissed by Mrs Justice Cutts CDE, who judged there was a clear and compelling public interest in maintaining the disclosure order.

Having taken these steps, the SFO intended to bring a civil recovery claim against Faerman in respect of 8 Tasker Lodge. The SFO has now agreed a settlement with Julio Faerman, whereby the property freezing order and Disclosure Order relating to 8 Tasker Lodge will remain in place until Faerman pays the settlement amount of £1,198,424.78 and the SFO’s £57,000 in costs.

The SFO would like to thank the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) and the Dutch FIOD for their co-operation and assistance in this investigation.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The signed order can be viewed here.
  2. Counsel for the SFO: Andrew Sutcliffe QC and Anne Jeavons
  3. Counsel for Julio Faerman: Charles Miskin QC. Represented by Barnfathers Solicitors.
  4. The SFO was granted a Disclosure Order against Faerman by Supperstone J in January 2019, who also granted a Property Freeing Order in relation to 8 Tasker Lodge on the grounds that the SFO had reasonable suspicion that the asset was funded from corrupt funds. In June 2020, Faerman applied to discharge the Disclosure Order. This was rejected by Mrs Justice Cutts, who ruled that there was a clear and compelling public interest in maintaining the Order. More information can be found here.

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Channel website: https://www.sfo.gov.uk/

Original article link: https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2020/11/12/sfo-secures-1-2m-following-investigation-into-west-london-property-linked-to-brazilian-bribery-scandal/

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