UK logistics company accused of bribing Angolan oil firm

14 July 2016

A logistics and freight company has been charged with corruption by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for allegedly bribing an agent of Sonangol, the Angolan state oil company.

F.H. Bertling Ltd, a UK based subsidiary of Bertling Group, alongside seven individuals, allegedly “conspired together and with others to bribe an agent of the Angolan state oil company” to further business operations in the country, the SFO said in a statement.

The alleged activity happened between January 2005 and December 2006.

The defendants Dirk Juergensen, aged 45, Giuseppe Morreale, 61, Peter Ferdinand, 77, and Ralf Peterson, 72, are all listed on Companies House as having been directors at F.H. Bertling Ltd for some or all of the period the allegations were said to have happened.

Also charged are Stephen Emler, 48, who is listed on Companies House as a company secretary during the period, along with Marc Schweiger, 46 and Joerg Blumberg, 67.

Julia Burt from Bertling Group’s legal department declined to comment on the allegations, as did Colin McIsaac, director of global sales at F.H. Bertling Ltd.

In its values and code of conduct document, Bertling Group said they “completely reject all forms of bribery and corruption [and] expect our staff and those we do business with… to adhere to the same standards”.

The group was founded 150 years ago and specialises in ship owning, chartering, transport logistics and freight management. Its website says it employs over 1000 people and has 65 subsidiaries in 35 countries.

SFO said it took on the investigation against F.H. Bertling Ltd in September 2014.

A date has been set for 4 August at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

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