Two former directors and a sales manager of UK engineering firm Mabey & Johnson have been convicted of bribing government officials in Iraq in order to secure a contract to supply bridges. The convictions follow a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into the company's affairs in Iraq, which resulted in the company being fined £2m and paying £618,000 into the Iraq Reconstruction Fund after pleading guilty to breaching UN sanctions.
Southwark Crown Court jailed former managing director Charles Forsyth, sales director David Mabey and sales manager Richard Gledhill for their participation in a scheme making illegal payments to the previous Iraqi government in 2001 and 2002. At that time, it was illegal to make any payments to the Iraqi government without a licence from HM Treasury.
Forsyth was sentenced to 21 months in prison, was ordered to pay £75,000 in costs and was disqualified from acting as a company director for 5 years. Mabey was jailed for 8 months, ordered to pay £125,000 and disqualified from acting as a director for 2 years. Gledhill received an 8 month sentence, suspended for 2 years, after pleading guilty and giving evidence to the SFO.
In passing sentence, HHJ Rivlin QC said "When a director of a major company plays even a small part, he can expect to receive a custodial sentence." Commenting on the result SFO Director Richard Alderman said, "This shows that the SFO is determined to go after senior corporate executives who break the law. I am pleased with the result. It sends out a very strong message from the courts on this type of offending."