Syedur Rahman of business crime solicitors Rahman Ravelli says his appeal is a calculated risk.
The former chief executive of a failed oil company has sought to overturn his conviction for fraud and money laundering that was obtained by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Osman Shahenshah, former Chief Executive at oil exploration company Afren, is serving six years after being convicted in October 2018 of fraud and money laundering over a $300 million business deal. Afren's former Chief Operating Officer, is serving five years.
Shahenshah has now sought permission from the UK's Court of Appeal to challenge his conviction; arguing that the prosecution failed to prove he caused Afren any financial loss.
The two men were accused of laundering more than $45 million, some of which was used to buy luxury properties in Mustique and the British Virgin Islands. They received a total of 30 years' imprisonment but the sentences are being served concurrently.
At the time of their conviction, SFO Director Lisa Osofsky said the sentences reflected the seriousness of the fraud and the violation of their duties. The SFO had said that Shahenshah and Ullah created shell companies and agreed a deal with one of Afren's Nigerian oil partners that the two men would benefit from without the knowledge of Afren's board.
Afren went into administration in July 2015 after failing to secure support for a refinancing and restructuring plan.
Shahenshah believes he has the grounds for overturning his conviction and he now has a chance of arguing them in court. But, of course, this certainly does not mean his conviction will necessarily be overturned. If that happened, it would be a high-profile success for him.
But if the appeal is not successful then he still has to serve his sentence and may have to pay prosecution and court costs.
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