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Former executives of Mabey & Johnson Ltd jailed for helping finance Saddam Hussein's government

Two former directors and a sales manager of engineering firm Mabey & Johnson Ltd have been sentenced for providing kickbacks to the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.

Charles Forsyth, David Mabey, and Richard Gledhill, inflated the contract price for the supply of steel bridges and disguised illegal payments that were channeled through Jordanian banks.

On February 10, a Southwark Crown Court jury found Forsyth and Mabey guilty of making illegal payments to Iraq during 2001/02 in breach of United Nations sanctions.

Gledhill, who was sales manager for contracts in Iraq, pleaded guilty to sanctions offences at an earlier hearing and gave evidence for the Prosecution.

On Wednesday, Forsyth, 63, former managing director, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, disqualified from acting as a company director for five years and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £75,000.

Mabey, 49, former sales director, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, disqualified from acting as a company director for two years and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £125,000.

Gledhill, 64, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Mabey & Johnson Ltd, of Twyford, Berkshire, had entered into a contract under the UN Oil-For-Food Programme to supply 13 steel modular bridges.  The illegal payments of over €420,000 that secured the contract with the Iraqi government represented 10 per cent of the total contract value.

In passing sentence HHJ Rivlin QC said the “bare truth of this case is that Mr Forsyth bears the most culpability”.

In relation to Mabey, HHJ Rivlin QC said when “a director of a major company plays even a small part, he can expect to receive a custodial sentence”.

Serious Fraud Office director Richard Alderman said it showed “the SFO is determined to go after senior corporate executives who break the law”.

“I am pleased with the result. It sends out a very strong message from the courts on this type of offending.”

In September 2009, Mabey & Johnson Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching UN sanctions in relation to Iraq and to corruption offences in relation to Ghana and Jamaica, the SFO said.

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