Is 2e2 under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office?

By Sooraj Shah
11 Feb 2013 View Comments
uncovering-fraud-header

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has refused to "confirm or deny" whether it is investigating bankrupt systems integrator 2e2, after Computing asked the regulator whether it had been called in to investigate the defunct company. 

The response mirrors that of the administrators, FTI Consulting, when quizzed by Computing on the matter. 

Further reading

The SFO is an independent government department that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud, and corruption.

In an interview, it said that before launching an investigation it takes into account:

  • The scale of loss - be it actual or potential; 
  • The impact of the case on the UK economy; 
  • The effect of the case on the UK's reputation as a safe place to do business; and, 
  • The factual or legal complexity as well as the wider public interest.

In response to Computing's enquiries, a SFO spokesman said: "We can neither confirm nor deny whether we are investigating this case". 

That response differs from what the SFO told Computing last week, when it flatly denied it was carrying out an investigation into 2e2's recent problems, and even gave the impression it was unaware of the case.

When Computing asked 2e2 administrators, FTI Consulting, whether it was being investigated it responded by stating that it had "no comment" to make.

The SFO said that it prefers not to publicise new or ongoing investigations. On its website, it states: "For reasons of operational security, and to ensure that our suspects are not alerted to any action which we may take, we cannot tell you about any enforcement action which may follow."

2e2 was plunged into administration on 29 January. A week later administrators admitted that they had given up trying to sell the company as a going concern.

As a result, FTI Consulting announced the immediate loss of 627 jobs in the UK - to add to the 345 redundancies that the company made as it went into administration.

In exclusive interviews with two disgruntled former employees, the company was accused of acting illegally in its treatment of staff. "The first person [on the conference call] said this is illegal, which it is - there needs to be a consultation," claimed Trevor Hackett, a former industry architect in the telco media and business unit at 2e2.

Contractor Arnold Foster claimed: "No notice, no pay for the month... I think they've broken every law going now".

However, after a company has gone into administration, while the administrator is responsible for making sure retained staff get paid, they do not need to serve notice to staff they make redundant. 

Have you been affected in any way by the demise of 2e2? Please tell us your story, either in the comment section below or by emailing us direct - sooraj.shah@incisivemedia.com

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