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News Round Up

16 September 2014

US authorities have ordered Hewlett-Packard (HP) to pay $108M in fines after it was found guilty of paying bribes to secure deals through its subsidiaries in Russia, Poland and Mexico.

The US Justice Department said that HP’s Russian subsidiary had admitted breaching the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing government officials in Russia to gain contracts worth millions of dollars. In Poland, HP bribed police authorities and in Mexico it made illegal payments to members of the country’s state-owned oil company.

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The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged the UK subsidiary of French train and turbine maker Alstom over alleged payment of bribes totalling $8.5M to secure orders in Poland, Tunisia and India.

In a statement, the SFO says that the offences are alleged to have taken place between 2000 and 2006 and involved “large transport projects’’ in the three countries.

The SFO investigation was prompted by information supplied by the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland.

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A Leicester housing charity director has been jailed for 16 months for the theft of £66,000 from his employers and four counts of fraud.

Paul Treston, 47, was head of land acquisition for the Riverside Group and had a £70,000 salary. Yet he set up businesses to invoice his employers for work that he was either not entitled to be paid for or did not carry out.

Sentencing Treston, Judge Simon Hammond, said: “This was a carefully worked out fraud involving several companies, some in his own name, and it went on for some time. It was a gross abuse of trust.’’

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Birmingham solicitor Kamran Malik, who is serving five years in jail for property fraud offences, has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Malik was jailed last February after being charged with four counts of money laundering, four of mortgage fraud and one of perverting the course of justice. The Tribunal found that he had failed to uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice and had failed to act with integrity.

The Tribunal ordered Malik to pay £2,752 costs.

Gordon Ramsay, of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, said: “Mr Malik used his position as a solicitor to engage in criminal activity. Solicitors hold positions of trust and have a duty to uphold the rule of law.

“Mr Malik’s offences show he abused that position of trust so the tribunal’s decision is entirely appropriate.’’

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An owner of a company involved in a huge VAT carousel fraud has been disqualified from acting as a director.

Anthonia Ogbemudia, who ran London-based Globalex, has been barred from being a director for 13 years. It follows an investigation into Globalex’s buying and selling of phones and computer equipment across the European Union (EU) between July 2005 and June 2006 - deals that generated a £1 billion turnover.

A court heard that the trading arrangements were “too good to be true’’ and that Ogbemudia, as sole director, was responsible for illogical pricing arrangements that could only be explained as being part of a fraud.


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