Dennis Kerrison and Miltiades Papachristos were found guilty [on Wednesday 18 June] at Southwark Crown Court of conspiracy to commit corruption. In a nutshell, that they gave or agreed to give corrupt payments to public officials and other agents of the Government of Indonesia as inducements to secure, or as rewards for having secured, contracts from the Government of Indonesia for the supply of fuel manufactured by Innospec.The SFO press release is here.
The bribery scheme resulted in extending the period of time in which the citizens of Indonesia were sold leaded fuel despite the Indonesian government’s desire to eliminate its use.
The convictions of Mr Kerrison, a former CEO of Associated Octel Corporation (subsequently renamed Innospec Limited) and Dr Papachristos, former regional sales director for the Asia Pacific region, complete the SFO’s six year investigation into Innospec.
Innospec pleaded guilty in March 2010 to bribing state officials in Indonesia and was fined $12.7 million.
Another former Innospec CEO, Paul Jennings, pleaded guilty in June 2012 to two charges of conspiracy to commit corruption and a further charge of conspiracy to commit corruption in July 2012. David Turner, former Innospec sales and marketing director pleaded guilty to three charges of conspiracy to commit corruption in January 2012.
David Green CB QC, director of the SFO said:
‘Today’s convictions finally bring to an end a long-running investigation into corruption at Innospec…
‘…While other defendants took the decision to plead guilty at an early stage, the SFO case team has had to resist a sustained and extensive campaign designed to prevent these defendants facing trial. That they have now done so is testament to the skills, professionalism and tenacity of those involved.
‘I am very pleased that a jury has had the opportunity to deliver its verdict on the defendants’ conduct.’
The sentencing of Dr Turner, Mr Jennings, Mr Kerrison and Dr Papachristos is expected to take place on 25 July 2014.
The convictions are a reminder that bribery is neither a victimless crime nor one that goes unpunished. The risk of investigation, prosecution and conviction for bribery is real not imagined. Businesses should take note and ensure compliance systems and controls are sufficient.
For all the criticism of the SFO the convictions are long awaited welcome news for the SFO and the first successful conviction in a contested overseas corruption case. At a time when the investigation and prosecution of bribery is under review in the UK this will strengthen the SFO’s hand.
Barry Vitou & Richard Kovalevsky Q.C. blog at thebriberyact.com, you can access the blog here