Exodus of SFO directors follow Wardle’s exit

Senior prosecutors have abandoned the Serious Fraud Office following a change
of priorities and leadership of the organisation.

Director Robert Wardle departed seven weeks ago but serious concerns have
surfaced about his successor, Richard Alderman, who is understood to be more
interested in large costly investigations, have the Guardian reported.

Alderman, a barrister and former director of inland HM Revenue & Customs
Special Compliance Office, said that he wanted to focus on consumer fraud,
despite calls to concentrate on corporate fraud.

Former SFO director Ros Wright and forensic experts have argued that he
should focus on the high-value public interest cases of fraud and corruption.

Wright told Accountancy Age she thought the change of direction a mistake.

The SFO confirmed that Wardle’s deputy, James Kellock, would leave. Assistant
director Philip Blakeborough, has already left and is set to be followed by
assistant directors Helen Garlick and John Benstead.

Alderman has also seconded a former colleague, Phillippa Williamson, from
HMRC, to take on the chief operating officer role.

‘She has worked with me before and has the skills needed at this level, in
particular to support me in introducing the changes that I plan for the
organisation,’ Alderman said.

Further reading:

SFO: road to nowhere?

Fraud: stop the rot

SFO chief signals shift in focus to fraud victims

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