Britons Jailed for Iraq Bribery

Two former directors and a sales manager of engineering firm Mabey & Johnson Ltd have been sentenced today for providing kickbacks to the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.

Charles Forsyth, David Mabey and Richard Gledhill inflated the contract price for the supply of steel bridges and disguised illegal payments that were channelled through Jordanian banks.

The sentences are:

  • Richard Charles Edward Forsyth, 63, former managing director was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, disqualified from acting as a company director for five years and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £75,000.
  • David Mabey, 49, former sales director, to eight months imprisonment, disqualified from acting as a company director for two years and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £125,000.
  • Richard Gledhill, 64, former sales manager, to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

On 10 February 2011, a Southwark Crown Court jury found Charles Forsyth and David Mabey guilty of making illegal payments to Iraq during 2001/02 in breach of United Nations sanctions. Richard Gledhill, who was sales manager for contracts in Iraq, pleaded guilty to sanctions offences at an earlier hearing and gave evidence for the Prosecution.

The company, Mabey & Johnson Ltd, of Twyford, Berkshire, had entered into a contract under the UN Oil-For-Food Programme to supply 13 steel modular bridges.  The illegal payments of over €420,000 that secured the contract with the Iraqi government represented 10% of the total contract value.

Details of the case and its relationship to the Oil for Food Programme were announced in a SFO press release issued when the verdicts had been returned.

In passing sentence HHJ Rivlin QC said “The bare truth of this case is that Mr Forsyth bears the most culpability”. In relation to David Mabey, HHJ Rivlin QC said “When a director of a major company plays even a small part, he can expect to receive a custodial sentence”.

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.”

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