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  • UK Serious Fraud Office recovers bribe from diplomat from Chad

    In what the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is calling a first, a £4.4 million recovery from a corruption case will be returned overseas. The SFO prevailed in a trial before the UK High Court and recovered the money from Chadian diplomats, including the wife of the former Deputy Chief of the Chadian Embassy to the United States who was received the money in the form of discounted shares of Canadian oil company Griffiths Energy International, Inc. Griffiths also paid “consultancy fees” to diplomats through a front company called “Chad Oil” set up five days before the agreements with the diplomats. In exchange for the payments, Griffiths received exclusive development rights in Chad.

    The case has continued for some time—Griffiths paid a C$10 million criminal fine in Canada in 2013. After Griffiths was taken over by a UK corporation, the U.S. DOJ filed an In Rem. complaint and later requested SFO assistance.

    This recovery will be “transferred to the Department for International Development who will identify key projects to invest in that will benefit the poorest in Chad.”

    UK Serious Fraud Office Anti-Corruption

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  • SFO confirms opening of criminal investigation into aerospace and defense group

    On January 18, the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) confirmed the opening of an investigation of Chemring Group PLC (“Chemring”) and its subsidiary, Chemring Technology Solutions Limited (“CTSL”) into alleged bribery, corruption, and money laundering. Chemring, a UK-based company that designs and makes products in the aerospace and defense industries, stated that the investigation followed a voluntary report from CTSL relating to “two specific historic contracts.” According to Chemring, the first of these contracts was awarded before the company took over the business group being investigated, while the second contract occurred after the acquisition. Chemring stated that the company will fully cooperate with the SFO’s investigation and provide further updates.

    UK Serious Fraud Office Fraud Bribery Anti-Corruption Anti-Money Laundering Chemring

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  • Directors Plead Guilty in U.K. to Angola Bribe Scheme

    On September 15, F.H. Bertling Ltd., a logistics and shipping company, and six of its current and former directors pleaded guilty in the U.K. to charges of conspiracy to pay bribes in Angola. The trial against a seventh man charged in the conspiracy started this week in London. The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office charged the company and the seven individuals last year with allegedly paying bribes when F.H. Bertling was seeking to obtain freight forwarding services contracts with the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol, between January 2005 and December 2006.

    UK Serious Fraud Office F.H. Bertling Ltd.

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  • SFO Director Urges Department to Compete With DOJ on Home Turf

    In a September 4 speech, Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Director David Green urged the SFO to lead anti-corruption enforcement efforts against UK-connected companies, warning that “if we take our foot off the pedal . . . , others will fill the void.” Green noted that the DOJ “is not shy about enforcing the [FCPA] against foreign companies,” and emphasized that seven of the top ten highest-dollar FCPA cases since 2008 were brought against non-American companies. Green said that “it is surely right that the UK should lead enforcement in relation to UK companies or companies with strong connections here,” because it not only “demonstrates our commitment to the level playing field,” but it also “ensures that hefty financial penalties go to UK public coffers rather than elsewhere.”

    UK Serious Fraud Office DOJ FCPA

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  • Former Currency Manufacturer Manager Convicted and Sentenced In UK For Making Corrupt Payments

    On May 11, following a five-week trial in a London court, a former manager of Securency PTY Ltd (Securency) was convicted of four counts of making corrupt payments to a foreign official in violation of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.  Peter Chapman, the former manager of the polymer banknote manufacturer’s Africa office, was acquitted on two other counts.   Chapman was convicted of bribing an agent of Nigerian Security Printing and Mining PLC in order to secure contracts for the purchase of reams of polymer substrate from Securency.  The total amount of bribes to the agent equaled approximately $205,000.  On May 12, he was sentenced to two and a half years (30 months on each convicted count, to be served concurrently). The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecuted the case following a joint investigation by the SFO and the Australian Federal Police, which initiated the investigation in May 2009.

    Australian Federal Police Peter Chapman Securency

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  • Another Alstom Employee Charged by UK in Corruption Probe

    On March 29, the UK Serious Fraud Office charged another Alstom S.A. employee, Terence Stuart Watson, in its ongoing corruption investigation of the beleaguered French power and transportation company.  The SFO has previously charged 6 other individuals in this investigation. The charges against Watson, the Alstom Country President for the UK and Managing Director of Alstom Transport UK & Ireland, are related to alleged bribery in Hungary concerning the company’s supply of trains to the Budapest Metro between 2003 and 2008.  The SFO’s prior charges have involved alleged corruption spanning Hungary, India, Poland, and Tunisia, and included charges against the former Senior Vice President of Ethics and Compliance related to alleged bribery in Hungary. In late 2014, the company pleaded guilty to FCPA charges brought by the US Department of Justice, and agreed to pay a record $772 million fine to resolve those charges.

    Alstom SA Terence Stuart Watson

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  • Sweett Group Ordered to Pay £2.25 Million in First UK Section 7 Conviction

    Following its December guilty plea in the UK, global building and infrastructure company Sweett Group on Friday was ordered by a UK court to pay £2.25 million (including a fine of £1.4 million) for violating Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act of 2010.  This was the first-ever conviction and sentence for a company under Section 7, which in essence penalizes companies for failing to prevent bribes made on their behalf.  The conduct at issue related to a three-year arrangement in the UAE to secure contracts related to large building contracts. Prior FCPA Scorecard coverage is also available.

    UK Bribery Act Sweett Group

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  • Printing Company Fined £2.2 Million in United Kingdom for Africa Bribes

    On January 8, the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office announced that Smith and Ouzman Ltd, a printing company specializing in official documents such as election ballots, was ordered to pay penalties totaling £2.2 million following its 2014 conviction under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.  The SFO’s announcement regarding the sentencing stated that its investigation began in 2010 and centered on £395,074 in corrupt payments made to foreign officials in Kenya and Mauritania.  Two of the company’s former employees, also convicted in connection with the same investigation, were ordered to pay penalties totaling over £20,000.

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  • Sweett Group Admits to Middle East Bribery

    On December 2, 2015 the Sweett Group admitted to violating Section 7 of the U.K.’s Bribery Act of 2010 – failure to prevent bribery – regarding its conduct in the Middle East.  According to the Sweett Group, the underlying conduct was related to alleged bribery from 2009 to 2011 involving a former employee located in Dubai. While the SFO has not yet announced specifics associated with the conduct or any penalties that may be imposed, it previously announced the opening of its investigation into Sweett Group’s activities in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere.  This investigation appeared to have been triggered by a 2013 Wall Street Journal article that reported allegations of bribery involving the construction of a hospital in Morocco.  According to the WSJ, a bribe was offered to a United Arab Emirates official’s personal foundation in order to secure the design work contract for the $100 million project.

    UK Bribery Act SFO Sweett Group

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  • Three Acquitted in UK Trial For Alleged Nigerian Corruption

    On May 27, a London jury found three employees of Swift Technical Solutions Ltd (Swift) not guilty of corruption charges in connection with alleged corrupt payments to tax officials in Nigeria.  The SFO announced the verdict on June 2.  As to one defendant, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on one count and was discharged; the SFO informed the Southwark Crown Court that it would not seek to retry that defendant on that count and the court entered a verdict of not guilty. The SFO brought the corruption charges in late 2012 after  a two-year investigation related to the tax affairs of a Swift Nigerian subsidiary. The SFO alleged that the Swift employees paid bribes totaling approximately £180,000 in 2008 and 2009 to Nigerian tax officials to avoid, reduce, or delay paying tax on behalf of workers placed by Swift.  The alleged bribes occurred before the enactment of the U.K. Bribery Act and allegedly went to agents of two Nigerian Boards of Internal Revenue - the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue and the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue.  The SFO did not charge Swift with any criminal offense, citing its cooperation with the agency.

    Corruption Nigeria

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