The former managing director of a UK manufacturing company pleaded guilty to securing £12m worth of contracts through a bribery scheme.
Walsall Magistrates’ Court heard Carole Ann Hodson paid bribes of almost £300,000 between 2011 and 2016 while employed as company director at ALCA Fasteners Ltd.
Hodson, who was a majority stakeholder in the company, secured £12m worth of contracts through a bribery scheme set up with the purchasing manager at the manufacturer’s client company, Würth Group. Purchasing manager Terje Moe would receive 2.5% of the total of every order made through the scheme. A total of 64 payments amounting to £300,000 were paid to Moe until his retirement.
Fake invoices filed as “sales commission payments” and other unrelated financial categories were made to explain the cash transfers, and Hodson later lied to auditors about the true reason for the transactions in order to maintain ALCA's value ahead of a sale in 2017.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) began investigations into the company in December 2017 following “a voluntary referral” made by owners and directors at ALCA Fasteners. The case is ongoing and the company’s new directors continue to cooperate in the investigation, according to the SFO.
Moe also pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the reciept of bribery in July 2018 in Norway.
Lisa Osofsky, director of the SFO, said: “Ms Hodson has admitted her part in this crime and pleaded guilty to her misconduct. Bribery has no place in British business. This sort of corruption corrodes trust and distorts markets, making it impossible for companies to function and undermining the UK’s reputation as a rule of law country and a safe place to do business.”