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Insufficient evidence to progress SFO investigation into VTL

For immediate release

Media Statement:
26 November 2010

Crown Solicitor advises insufficient evidence to progress SFO investigation into VTL Group

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today announced that it had been unable to secure sufficient evidence to enable it to lay charges against the Vending Technologies Limited (VTL) Group directors or management, and had closed the investigation.

In conjunction with its earlier investigations in relation to lending by Nathans Finance, SFO had been investigating three licensing transactions entered into by VTL with a US company in December 2005, June 2006 and December 2006.

These licences had a significant effect on the financial results of VTL for the full and half year accounting periods ending December 2005, June 2006 and December 2006.

The investigation related principally to the authenticity of these licensing transactions.

SFO Director, Adam Feeley, said “While there are some frustrations with the outcome, the team accept the advice of the Crown Solicitor that there is insufficient evidence to pursue the matter further.”

Mr Feeley said “that in order to lay criminal charges the SFO had to be satisfied there was a reasonable prospect, based on credible evidence which could be admitted in Court, that an impartial jury could be satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the person prosecuted has committed a criminal offence.”

Mr Feeley said “this investigation has been ongoing in one form or another since December 2008. We have considered all sources of evidence available to us, and interviewed a number of key witnesses, but cannot reach the threshold of sufficiently reliable evidence for a criminal prosecution.”

He said that the matter was the last of SFO’s “legacy” cases and a tough decision had to be made to apply the SFO’s limited resources to areas where a more positive outcome could be achieved.

“If there is a positive from this matter, it is that the SFO’s work is now focused on “fresh” cases where conclusions can be expected to be reached in quicker timeframes.”

Mr Feeley noted that the matter would be reviewed if further fresh evidence became available.

ENDS

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