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May faces questions on economic crime review as SFO awaits fate

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May is facing questions on the progress of a wide-ranging review of Britain's economic crime agencies that could result in the dismantling of the Serious Fraud Office.

[LONDON] UK Prime Minister Theresa May is facing questions on the progress of a wide-ranging review of Britain's economic crime agencies that could result in the dismantling of the Serious Fraud Office.

Nicky Morgan, the chair of Parliament's Treasury Committee, wrote to Mrs May in July for an update on the review after the prime minister failed to respond to inquiries from another lawmaker earlier this year.

The letter, published Friday, follows a proposal in the Conservative manifesto to wrap the SFO into the National Crime Agency.

Home secretary Amber Rudd said in December the government was planning a review of the UK's response to economic crime through multiple agencies amid concerns Britain was struggling to tackle corruption.

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Despite the appraisal being incomplete, the prime minister made a pre-election pledge to subsume the SFO into the NCA, drawing outrage from the legal community.

After the plan was omitted from the Queen's speech - used to announce the premier's legislative program - Mrs May's spokesman said the government was consulting "on the next steps forward".

"I expect officials to deliver internal advice to ministers by the end of the summer," Mrs May said in her August reply to Mr Morgan.

"Any decisions made by ministers subsequently, based on that advice, will be subject to public scrutiny in the usual way."

A spokesman for the SFO said it was a matter for ministers and declined to comment further.

The agencies under scrutiny are the SFO, NCA, Financial Conduct Authority, City of London Police, Competition and Markets Authority, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Crown Prosecution Service.

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