Saunders, stockbroker Anthony Parnes and head of the Heron empire Gerald Ronson, were convicted for their actions at the time of the Pounds 2.6bn takeover bid made by Guinness for rival drinks company Distillers. Three judges are due to hear their cases later this year after the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case to the Court of Appeal.
But in a exceptional move, the SFO is seeking High Court permission to challenge the CCRC’s decision.
The SFO argues the commission acted outside its powers in referring the case on the basis of a change in the law, which occurred a decade after the convictions.
The appeals will now not take place until October rather than July, although Lyons’ case may be dealt with sooner due to ill health.
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