Serious Fraud Office drops De La Rue probe

De La Rue’s gradual return to health has continued this week with the news that the UK Serious Fraud Office has dropped a probe into “suspected corruption” at its South Sudan unit.

In a brief statement issued this morning, De La Rue said the SFO had decided to discontinue its investigation into the group and “associated persons” that was first announced last July.

“De La Rue is pleased that the SFO has closed its investigation and that the SFO is taking no further action in respect of this matter,” it added.

De La Rue has been involved in printing South Sudan banknotes since the country was established in 2011, but the nature of the SFO’s investigation has never been disclosed.

News of the probe added to the pressure on the company and its senior management, coming as it was facing pressure from activist investors to oust ex-chairman Philip Rogerson, had issued serial profit warnings and was facing a disruption as former chief executive Martin Sutherland announced he was leaving the company.

Since then the company has hired corporate turnaround specialist Clive Vacher as its new CEO, implemented a major restructuring programme and signed a series of new contracts worth more than £100m ($127m), including one to authenticate and protect COVID-19 testing kits.

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