Serious Fraud Office investigation into Lane Walker Rudkin complaint

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Serious Fraud Office investigation into Lane Walker Rudkin complaint

The Serious Fraud Office has commenced an investigation into the affairs of the failed Lane Walker Rudkin Group.  The Director and Chief Executive of the Serious Fraud Office, Grant Liddell, announced today that following consideration of the complaint received recently from the group’s receivers,  Stephen Tubbs and Brian Mayo Smith of BDO (formerly BDO Spicers), he had decided that the threshold for an investigation under Part 2 of the Serious Fraud Office Act 1990 had been met.

The group of companies collapsed in April 2009, owing the Westpac bank about $120 million. 

Mr Liddell said that the receivers had alleged that Lane Walker Rudkin had misrepresented its financial strength to Westpac in order to borrow money from the bank, and that if Westpac had known the true position it would not have lent so much.

An investigation under Part 2 of the Serious Fraud Office Act can be undertaken when the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed and enables the SFO to require documents and information to be provided to it, and to require people to attend for compulsory interview.  Mr Liddell said that information provided by the receivers in their complaint enabled him to decide that a Part 2 investigation was warranted, but that in the interests of the investigation, he would not be making the reasons for the decision public. 

“As we are at the early stages of the investigation, I can’t predict how long it will take,” Mr Liddell said.  “Our work is already underway, however, and information has already been received and is being analysed.  But as is common with serious fraud investigations, there will be large numbers of documents to examine, so the investigation can be expected to take a number of months.”