Bridge building firm Mabey & Johnson will appear in court tomorrow for a preliminary sentencing hearing after it indicated it would plead guilty to “serious” charges of corruption and breaching UN sanctions.
Mabey & Johnson, which is based in Berkshire and supplies steel bridging, told a hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court that it planned to plead guilty to 10 charges of corruption and violating sanctions.
The SFO said the company tried to influence officials in Jamaica and Ghana when bidding for public contracts in the 1990s. It is also understood to have paid more than £365,000 to Saddam Hussein’s regime between 2001 and 2002, violating the terms of the UN oil-for-food scheme in Iraq.
The prosecution is the first to be brought in the UK against a company for overseas corruption.
SFO director Richard Alderman said: “These are serious offences and it is significant that Mabey & Johnson has cooperated with us to get to this landmark point.
“This has enabled this case to be dealt with in just over a year and is a model for other companies who want to self-report corruption and have it dealt with quickly and fairly by the SFO.”
The SFO said: “The company has now agreed that it will be subject to financial penalties to be assessed by the court, will pay reparations and will submit its internal compliance programme to an SFO-approved independent monitor.”
A preliminary sentencing hearing is listed for Southwark Crown Court for tomorrow.
Five of Mabey & Johnson’s eight directors have stood down over the past year after the firm’s holding company, the Mabey Group, told the SFO of the offences.
New managing director Peter Lloyd said: “We deeply regret the past conduct of our company, and we have committed to making a fresh start, wiping the slate clean of these offences.
“We are taking steps to ensure we can protect jobs and take our business forward. We have also agreed to pay appropriate compensation as a further expression of our regret.”