'No criminal charges for firm as subsidiary takes responsibility for fraud related to MoJ contracts'
'The outsourcing company Serco has been fined nearly £23m as part of a settlement with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over electronic tagging contracts.
The firm said it was “mortified”. It said its UK subsidiary Serco Geografix had taken responsibility for three offences of fraud and two of false accounting between 2010 and 2013, related to understating profits from its electronic monitoring contracts with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). It was fined £19.2m and ordered to pay £3.7m in costs.
An agreement with the SFO, which is subject to approval by the courts, will result in a lengthy investigation ending without Serco facing criminal charges.
The issue was first reported by Serco to the SFO in 2013.
In 2013 Serco paid a £70m settlement to the MoJ after the firm and fellow outsourcing group G4S faced allegations of charging for tagging people who were either dead, in jail, or had left the country.
Rupert Soames, Serco’s group chief executive, said: “Those of us who now run the business are mortified, embarrassed and angry that, in a period between six and nine years ago, Serco understated the level of profitability of its electronic monitoring contract in its reports to the Ministry of Justice.
“Serco apologised unreservedly at the time, and we do so again.”
He added: “The management and culture of Serco, and the transparency with which we conduct our affairs, have changed beyond all recognition, and we are pleased that this has been acknowledged by both the SFO and by the government.”'
Read more: Serco fined £22.9 million over electronic tagging scandal