Charges dismissed against former SSL FD

The former finance director of SSL international has had charges of fraud
dropped after a judge threw out a Serious Fraud Office case against the Durex
condom manufacturer.

A ruling in December, but only reportable now, saw judge Stephen Clarke rule
at Knutsford crown court that it was ‘manifestly obvious’ that the evidence
provided by the SFO could not support a conviction.

As a result, former FD Paul Sanders, along with previous chief executive Iain
Cater and European managing director Dieno George, had their charges dismissed.

The criminal investigation originally commenced in July 2001 after SSL was
embroiled in an accounting scandal involving its former auditor Andersen
following the discovery of a £50m stock error.

However, after less than fours days’ deliberation, judge Clarke ruled that
the company had indulged in nothing more than ‘trade loading’ which may give an
unrealistic picture of profitability if used excessively, but is not illegal.

It is thought that the SFO may be planning an unprecedented appeal against
the decision, according to The Guardian

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