Sentencing ‘pushed back’ in North Sea bribery case

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The sentencing of North Sea logistics executives convicted of bribery has been pushed back into 2019.

Last month, a £16 million bribery case involving FH Bertling resulted in the conviction of nine people.

However, a spokesman for the firm confirmed today that sentencing has been pushed back to January 3 2019.

Chris Brooks, head of compliance at FH Bertling, said: “I’ve been told that it will now take place in January.”

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) confirmed in November that shipping executives Stephen Emler and Giuseppe Morreale pleaded guilty for their part in a corrupt scheme to secure a ConocoPhillips freight forwarding contract.

The deal was worth over £16m for FH Bertling as part of the Jasmine North Sea oil exploration project.

Jasmine lies close to ConocoPhillips’ producing fields, Jade and Judy.

SFO director Lisa Osofsky said: “These senior executives failed to show any integrity, resorting to bribery to secure lucrative contracts and hide their illicit activities.

“It is our mission to bring criminals like these to justice.

“Bribery has no place in business in Britain or abroad. It undermines the rule of law, distorts our economy and damages the reputation of the UK.”

The SFO confirmed in a subsequent release that the nine FH Bertling executives had paid out more than £350,000 in “bribes and facilitation” payments.

According to the SFO, bribes were paid out to ensure the firm was successful in its bid for the ConocoPhillips Jasmine shipping contract.

The criminal investigation into corruption at FH Bertling started in September 2014, with the first charges announced in July 2016.

Thirteen individuals have been charged as part of the SFO’s case, with nine convicted of one or more charges and four individuals acquitted.

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