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SFO seizes £1m tied to £4m luxury flat bought with corrupt funds

  • 12/11/2020
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SFO seizes £1m tied to £4m luxury flat bought with corrupt funds
More than £1m has been seized from the owner of a £4.25m luxury apartment in west London, which is thought to have been partly purchased with corrupt funds.


The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has secured £1,198,424.78 from Julio Faerman who was implicated in Brazil’s ‘Operation Car Wash’, which uncovered systematic bribery to win contracts from the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras.

During the 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 £41m (US$54m).

Following Faerman’s proceedings in Brazil, the SFO opened a 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 these same accounts received payments gained by Faerman during his time working as an agent for SBM Offshore NV in Brazil.


Property freezing order

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 applied to discharge this order in June 2020 but it was dismissed by Mrs Justice Cutts CDE, who judged there was a clear and compelling public interest in maintaining the disclosure order.

The SFO had intended to bring a civil recovery claim against Faerman in respect of the property but has now agreed a settlement with Faerman.

The freezing order will remain in place until Faerman pays the settlement amount of £1,198,424.78 and the SFO’s £57,000 in costs.

Liz Baker, head of the SFO proceeds of crime and international assistance division, 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.”

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


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