Four more sentenced in North Sea corruption case

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Four more shipping executives have been sentenced in the North Sea bribery case involving logistics firm FH Bertling.

The company, which has a base in Aberdeen, has been under a four-year investigation to locate bribes paid out to win a £16 million North Sea exploration project.

It’s understood cash incentives were paid by executives to ensure the success of FH Bertling in its bid for the ConocoPhillips Jasmine shipping contract.

Colin Bagwell received nine months’ imprisonment to be suspended for 2 years for his part in the scheme.

He was also ordered to pay a £5,000 fine.

Christopher Lane, having pleaded guilty prior to the trial, received six months’ imprisonment to be suspended for 2 years for the same offence. He is also subject to a 28 days electronic curfew order. 

Guiseppe Morreale and Stephen Emler also received sentences totalling 15 months and 12 months respectively, each suspended for 2 years, for their part in a scheme to secure contracts for FH Bertling in the North Sea.

Both men pleaded guilty prior to trial.

In relation to the SFO’s Angola investigation, Morreale was sentenced to 2 years and Emler 18 months imprisonment, to be suspended for 2 years, to run concurrently.

In addition, Morreale was ordered to pay a £20,000 fine and Emler was ordered to pay a £15,000 fine.

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.

Serious Fraud Office 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.”

FH Bertling said it did not wish to comment on the sentences handed out.

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