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ENRC wins right of appeal in bid to keep corruption investigation secret

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The former FTSE 100 mining giant ENRC has scored a victory in its battle to keep the details of internal corruption investigations out of the hands of fraud authorities.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is probing the ENRC over its activities in Kazakhstan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in May won a landmark civil order requiring disclosure of documents relating to an investigation by an outside law firm.

In a High Court decision handed down this week the company has won the right to appeal against the controversial order, which drew criticism from the Law Society over concerns it will erode the ability of clients to have privileged discussions with lawyers.

Lord Justice Floyd gave ENRC permission to appeal because “the grounds of appeal have a real prospect of success”.

A spokesman for the company, which denies wrongdoing, claimed the order was a threat to internal anti-corruption efforts.

He said: “This was a decision which in our view seems to penalise ENRC for responsibly taking steps to thoroughly investigate the allegations so that it could properly understand what had happened and what should be done.

“It certainly would not seem to encourage corporate transparency and good governance going forward.”

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