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14Oct93 UK: NAPIER GETS 12 MONTHS FOR FRAUD - EX-MATTHEW HALL DIRECTOR.

John Napier, a former Matthew Hall sales director who was awarded an MBE, was jailed for 12 months last week after pleading guilty to buying secret information about a contract.Napier, nicknamed Flash, admitted paying a senior Shell manager £31,000 for information about an £8 million contract.Shell's Francis Hemsworth, described as a 'long-serving, hard-working and trusted employee', admitted two counts of corruption and was jailed for a year.Mr Napier told police he did not realise buying secret information was illegal because 'it was commonplace in every oil firm'.The men are part of a larger Serious Fraud Office investigation that has seen four others jailed over back-hand deals worth almost £1 million.Mr Hemsworth gave Mr Napier details about an accommodation vessel for use on the North Sea Gannet oil project and effectively doubled his salary with the payment.Mr Napier passed on this information and was paid £33,000 by others who eventually gave the details to the winning company, Safe Offshore Services. Stephen Batten QC, prosecuting, said: 'This is only one aspect of a larger investigation.'He said other prosecutions included two men who bought secrets from BP involving £400,000, and two men involved in the Channel Tunnel project, who also illegally profited by £400,000.Mr Napier's defence counsel said: 'Mr Napier was a well-respected man in the oil industry.'He was awarded an MBE. No doubt that honour will be stripped from him.'Judge Roderick Adams ordered Mr Napier to pay prosecution costs of £13,500 and £45,000 of his profits from the venture were confiscated.Mr Hemsworth was ordered to pay costs of £6,500 and have £31,000 confiscated.Amec stressed Mr Napier was not tried for any work Matthew Hall was doing or had done. CONSTRUCTION NEWS