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19 June 2014 | Will Green
Two men have been convicted of conspiracy to commit corruption in relation to the paying of bribes to secure contracts with the government of Indonesia.
Dennis Kerrison, former CEO of Associated Octel Corporation (subsequently renamed Innospec Ltd), and Miltiades Papachristos, former regional sales director for the Asia Pacific region, were convicted at Southwark Crown Court following a six-year investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Kerrison, 69, of Chertsey in Surrey, and Papachristos, 51, of Thessaloniki in Greece, were unanimously convicted by a jury of one count of conspiracy to commit corruption by giving or agreeing to give payments to public officials for contracts to supply Innospec fuel products.
Innospec as a company pleaded guilty in 2010 to paying bribes to state officials in relation to contracts with the Indonesian government for the supply of Innospec products including tetraethyl lead (TEL), a compound designed as an octane booster to be added to engine fuel. The firm was fined $12.7 million (£7.5 million).
Two other former Innospec employees, former CEO Paul Jennings and former sales and marketing director David Turner, each pleaded guilty in 2012 to three charges of conspiracy to commit corruption.
The offences took place between 2002 and 2008. All four men are due to be sentenced on 25 July.
David Green, director of the SFO, said: “As former secretary-general of the UN Kofi Annan said, ‘Corruption leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets and erodes the quality of life’. By investigating and prosecuting this case, the SFO has helped curb those damaging consequences of bribery.
“While other defendants took the decision to plead guilty at an early stage, the SFO case team has had to resist a sustained and extensive campaign designed to prevent these defendants facing trial. That they have now done so is testament to the skills, professionalism and tenacity of those involved.”
TEL was banned in the UK in 2000 due to links between the compound and severe neurological damage, said the SFO.
The SFO said the case was the first contested overseas corruption case brought by the organisation concerning bribery of foreign public officials.