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Court slams Vogon for overbilling Serious Fraud Office

SFO wins costs

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Data recovery specialist Vogon was heavily criticised n court last week for attempting to overcharge the Serious Fraud Office.

Judge Richard Seymour, sitting in the Technology and Construction Court division of the High Court, dismissed Vogon's action regarding a disputed claim of payment for data recovery services to the SFO.

Vogon had originally estimated that work recovering emails from 50 Exchange Server backup tapes, which the SFO needed as evidence as part of an investigation, would cost £22,500.

When Vogon presented a bill of £314,375 (plus VAT) for the work - without further reference back to its clients - the SFO balked at paying the much higher amount.

The case went to court where Vogon's claim "resoundingly failed".

Neil Barrett, technical director at UK consultancy Information Risk Management (IRM), who appeared as expert witness for the respondent (SFO) in the civil case, told us he had "never seen anything as damning" as the ruling Judge Seymour handed down in the case.

The Judge described Vogon's witnesses as "unsatisfactory" and "evasive" and criticised the firm to deliberately attempted to mislead" at the end of the two day case.

David Jones, Head of Information at the Serious Fraud Office, said "Vogon had claimed nearly £315,000 for the work - about 14 times greater than the work warranted."

"[Vogon's] claim is far removed from reality as it is astronomical," he added.

The Judge found in favour of the SFO, putting the bill for Vogon's work at £22,500, which is hardly likely to cover legal expenses arising from the dispute.

Vogon is to pay court cost for the action, including the SFO's costs. The firm was denied leave to appeal the ruling. ®

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