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Friday, May 13

Banknotes company manager guilty of bribing Nigerian official...JAILED!!

Banknotes company manager guilty of bribing Nigerian official

Banknotes company manager guilty of bribing Nigerian official

A former manager of a polymer banknote manufacturer has been sentenced to 30 months in prison after being convicted of making corrupt payments to a Nigerian official.

Peter Chapman was convicted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court of four counts of making corrupt payments to a Nigerian official after a five-week trial. He was acquitted of two other counts in the case brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

Mr Chapman, 54, paid bribes to an agent of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting to secure orders for the purchase of reams of polymer substrate from his firm Innovia Securency.

Innovia’s Guardian polymer banknotes, often referred to as “plastic money”, were first issued in Australia in 1988 and are now used in 24 countries.

The total value of the bribes that he was convicted of paying to the agent was approximately £143,000.

The trial followed a joint investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and the Australian Federal Police into Securency.

Mr Chapman, the manager of Innovia Securency’s Africa office, was arrested at Heathrow airport in April 2015, having been extradited from Brazil. On Thursday, Judge Michael Grieve sentenced Chapman to 30 months in prison.

But the judge said that the one year and five months that Chapman had already spent on remand, including in a Brazilian jail, will be deducted from his 30-month sentence. That means he is likely to serve no time in jail and was set to be released on licence on Thursday.

The judge told Chapman that a custodial sentence was necessary and added: “Corruption, particularly of foreign government officials, is a very serious global problem as the anti-corruption summit in London highlights.”

Mr Chapman’s defence counsel tried on Wednesday to have the trial stopped. Counsel argued that David Cameron’s comments that Nigeria was “fantastically corrupt” may have influenced the jury, who were then deliberating.

Judge Grieve refused to halt the case but gave the jury a strongly worded direction that they should “completely ignore” Mr Cameron’s comments on Nigeria.

The case is a success for the Serious Fraud Office which has had a mixed record on prosecutions.

David Green, director of the SFO, said the investigation had been long and detailed, adding that co-operation had been received from agencies globally, including the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Central Authority of Nigeria.

“Crimes like this damage the UK’s commercial reputation and this conviction shows that such activity will not be tolerated,” he said.

The Reserve Bank of Australia and Securency referred allegations of corruption to the Australian Federal Police in May 2009. The allegations were that Securency, at the time jointly owned by RBA and Innovia Films Ltd, a UK manufacturing firm, paid bribes to foreign government officials via agents in order to secure contracts with certain governments in Asia and Africa for the printing of banknotes.

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