International - Written by Barry & Richard on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 3:45 - 1 Comment
OPINION: The Innospec Four: Sentences handed out
Yesterday HHJ Goymer sentenced the Innospec 4, who were found guilty in June, for their roles in bribing state officials in Indonesia and Iraq. The sentences handed out were:
- Dennis Kerrison, 69, of Chertsey, Surrey, was sentenced to 4 years in prison.
- Paul Jennings, 57, of Neston, Cheshire, was sentenced to 2 years in prison.
- Miltiades Papachristos, 51 of Thessaloniki, Greece, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
- David Turner, 59, of Newmarket, Suffolk, was sentenced to a 16 month suspended sentence with 300 hours unpaid work
On sentencing the judge had this to say:
“Corruption in this company was endemic, institutionalised and ingrained… but despite being a separate legal entity it is not an automated machine; decisions are made by human minds.
“None of these defendants would consider themselves in the same category as common criminals who commit crimes of dishonesty or violence….. but the real harm lies in the effect on public life, the effect on community and in particular with this corruption, its effect on the environment. If a company registered or based in the UK engages in bribery of foreign officials it tarnishes the reputation of this country in the international arena.”
The words are familiar to those who sentence watch in corruption cases. The offences took place before the Bribery Act entered into force and so sentencing is under the old law. Nevertheless a sentence of four years is nothing to be sniffed at.
Continuing a theme that those who cooperate will see that translate into a better outcome and less severe punishment (something which also applies in a corporate context) the Judge also said, in relation to Dr. Turner:
“It is necessary to give encouragement to those involved in serious crime to cooperate with authorities. You [Dr Turner] very narrowly indeed escaped going to prison.”
David Green CB QC, Director of the SFO said (the SFO Press Release is here):
“This successful conclusion to a long-running investigation demonstrates the SFO’s ability and determination to bring corporate criminals to justice.”
Innospec itself pleaded guilty in March 2010 to bribing state officials in Indonesia and was fined $12.7 million in England with additional penalties being imposed in the USA.
Dr Turner was ordered to pay £10,000 towards prosecution costs and Mr Jennings was ordered to pay £5000 towards these costs. The matter of costs for Mr Kerrison and Dr Papachristos has been adjourned pending the hearing of confiscation proceedings against them.
After its recent battering the SFO is quietly enjoying something of a renaissance with some good results clocking up this year and a continued focus on serious fraud. The new Director is delivering on some of the promises made a couple of years ago.
Of course the world still awaits the first corporate prosecution and then successful conviction by the SFO under the Bribery Act. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say, but that will come. Corporates ignore the risk of investigation and prosecution at their peril.