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22 June 2012 (16 June 2012 orginal story below) | Adam Leach
The three men involved in a multi-million pound fraud around Sainsbury’s potato supply contracts have each been given prison terms.
John Maylam, the former Sainsbury’s buyer who received lavish gifts, such as an all-expenses-paid trip to the Monaco Grand Prix was given a four-year sentence after pleading guilty to corruption and money laundering.
David Baxter, who was previously accounts director at potato supplier Greenvale, was given 30 months after pleading guilty to the same charges.
His former colleague, Andrew Behagg, who was formerly finance director at Greenvale, was sentenced to three years after being found guilty of corruption.
Potato supplier’s former finance director found guilty of corruption
The former finance director of the potato supplier Greenvale Andrew Behagg, has been found guilty of corruption “on a massive scale” over illegal payments to a buyer at Sainsbury's at Croydon Crown Court yesterday.
The verdict followed guilty pleas from John Maylam, a former buyer at the supermarket, and David Baxter, previously accounts manager at Greenvale, to charges of corruption and money laundering in September and June last year respectively.
The case concerned payments between the two Greenvale employees and Maylam, which saw Sainsbury’s overcharged for potatoes by about £8.7 million.
The prosecution alleged the Greenvale representatives “showered” Maylam with gifts, such as a £350,000 trip to the Monaco Grand Prix and visits to the restaurant at Claridge’s in London, to secure the retailer’s £40 million a year contract to supply potatoes. There were also lump sum payments to Maylam of £1.5 million, disguised as payments for potato storage and other activities.
Sue Patten, head of the Crown Prosecution Service central fraud group, said in a statement: “This was corruption on a massive scale. The prosecution’s case was that as a result of this corruption, Greenvale was able to keep lucrative business for the supply of potatoes to Sainsbury’s, valued at £40 million per year, at the same time as overcharging them.
“[The] message is clear: there is no place for corruption in British business. It attacks fair competitive practices and undermines our international reputation. This case demonstrates a clear distinction between reasonable business hospitality and that which is criminally corrupt.”
The three men - Behagg, Baxter and Maylam - are scheduled to be sentenced on 22 June.