Two employees of Swift Technical Energy Solutions, a U.K.-based company which provides manpower solutions to the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, were found not guilty of conspiracy to corrupt. A third employee was discharged when the jury was unable to reach a decision.

The charges related to bribes paid to agents of a state tax department in Nigeria in 2008 and 2009 to reduce the tax bill of Swift Technical Energy Solutions. Notably the SFO received considerable assistance from the Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria.

The case was not plain sailing for the SFO. After halftime submissions, the Judge directed the jury to acquit Nidhi Vyas on one of the two charges of conspiracy to corrupt. She was acquitted of the second charge after trial.

The SFO has decided not to seek a retrial for the charge on which the jury could not reach a decision.

Notwithstanding this is a loss for the SFO, observers will note the high level of cooperation between U.K. and Nigerian authorities. This is indicative of the approach the SFO is taking in bringing international prosecutions. Observers will also note that Swift was not prosecuted due to its co-operation with the SFO, including the provision of documents and making staff available for interview.