Brian Sims

Fraudsters sentenced for bribery at Coca-Cola Enterprises UK Limited

A GROUP of individuals and corporate bodies have been sentenced for their involvement in bribing a senior manager at Coca-Cola Enterprises UK Limited. Noel Corry, aged 56, and Gary Haines, 60, were each given a 20-month suspended sentence. Peter Kinsella, 58, was given a 12-month suspended sentence. All three have been ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

The companies involved have all been fined for failing to prevent bribery. WABGS Limited (previously Boulting Group Limited) received a fine of £500,000, Tritec Systems Limited was fined £70,000 and Electron Systems Limited was also fined £70,000.

Noel Corry had worked for Coca-Cola Enterprises UK Limited in the Electrical and Automation division since October 1996 in the role of senior manager. He had responsibility for sub-contracting site service work to a number of companies. If work was required over multiple sites, Corry not only influenced the selection process, but would also personally lead the identification of the appropriate contractors.

These contractors included Boulting Group Limited (now trading as WABGS Limited), Tritec Systems Limited and Electron Systems Limited. Some were ‘fresh air’ contracts for which no actual work was required to be performed. In return, Corry accepted cash bribes, free tickets to sports and entertainment events and sponsorship of his local football club, Droylesden FC, to an overall value of £950,000.

Peter Kinsella was a regional manager at Boulting Group Limited (now WABGS Limited). Corry developed a close working relationship with Kinsella and awarded contracts from Coca-Cola Enterprises UK Limited to Boulting often when little or no work was actually needed. Corry also supplied them with confidential competitive tender information about rival bids for electrical work at Coca-Cola Enterprises UK Limited sites, giving Boulting a commercial advantage over competitors.

Between 2008 and 2013, Noel Corry made almost £350,000 from his corrupt relationship with Peter Kinsella and, in their guilty plea, the Boulting Group accepted failing to prevent bribery over a two-year period.

Bribes paid

Gary Haines was a director of Tritec Systems Limited from at least June 2011 and held a similar position at Electron Systems Limited from April 2013. Corry authorised payments for contracts between Coca-Cola Enterprises UK Limited, Tritec Systems Limited and Electron Systems Limited for which, in fact, no work was carried out at all. Through this arrangement, Haines hoped to generate further legitimate work with Coca- Cola Enterprises UK Limited and he paid bribes to Corry of just over £600,000.

Boulting Group, Tritec Systems Limited and Electron Systems Limited had a responsibility to ensure all reasonable measures were taken to prevent bribery. Each business admitted that they had failed to put in place adequate measures to prevent it. The directors of the businesses were aware that such a failure was a criminal offence.

Alistair Dickson, specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), commented: “Corry had established a corrupt culture in the procurement exercise, awarding contracts to those companies whose senior managers were prepared to bribe him for doing so. Coca-Cola Enterprises UK Limited was wholly unaware of Corry’s corrupt actions to enrich himself. The contracting companies should have had in place compliance measures which would have prevented the payments being made and would also have led to the corruption being exposed.”

Detective Superintendent John Roch, head of economic crime at the Metropolitan Police Service, added: “Corry, Haines and Kinsella worked hard to present themselves as reputable, reliable and genuine businessmen, but in fact they were the exact opposite. Corry’s role was one of power. He was the subject matter lead within Coca-Cola Enterprises UK Limited and, although he didn’t make the final decision on competitive tenders, his opinion carried considerable influence with both the project managers and procurement team.”

Roch continued: “This is the first time the Metropolitan Police Service has charged and convicted a company with failure to prevent bribery and the case sends a strong message to individuals out there who seek to create an advantage for their business. Our Economic Crime Command investigates serious and complex financial crime, fraud and money laundering. The detectives who worked on this case have distinct areas of expertise and it’s thanks to their hard work and dedication that we’ve achieved this result.”

Sentencing in full

*Noel Corry was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment suspended for 21 months, 200 hours of unpaid work and costs of £5,000

*Peter Kinsella was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for 21 months, 200 hours of unpaid work and costs of £5,000

*Gary Haines was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment suspended for 21 months, 200 hours of unpaid work and costs of £5,000

*WABGS Limited is sentenced to pay a fine of £500,000 and costs of £10,000

*Tritec Systems Limited is sentenced to pay a fine of £70,000 and costs of £10,000

*Electron Systems Limited is sentenced to pay a fine of £70,000 and costs of £10,000

The CPS is committed to continuing to work closely with law enforcement and investigatory authorities to bring individuals and companies engaging in corrupt and bribery practices to justice.

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