On 31 July 2015, the SFO confirmed it had opened an
investigation into Soma Oil & Gas Holdings Ltd. The
investigation related to allegations of corruption in Somalia and
possible illegal payments to Somali officials.
The judicial review application brought by Soma Oil & Gas
Holdings Ltd was expedited because the company claimed that it
faced insolvency if it was unable to enter into a number of
contracts by 25 August 2016. The company claimed that these
contracts could not be entered into whilst the SFO investigation was
The company argued that the SFO's investigations had
taken too long and that the SFO should discontinue the
investigation, or part of it, and also disclose to the company what
new lines of investigation were being followed by the SFO.
The SFO argued that
the investigation was lawful and that the SFO had been as sensitive as
possible to the company's concerns. Counsel for the SFO stated "what is being
sought by the claimant is that the court intervenes to terminate a
proper, criminal investigation. The SFO do not accept that they
would be responsible for any loss of contracts."
The court refused the application on the basis that the judge
did not see any "prospect of success".
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