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Four charged in Nigerian corruption investigation

17 December 2012

Three men and a woman have appeared today before Westminster Magistrates' Court charged with two offences of conspiracy to corrupt.  This follows a two-year investigation into allegations of corruption in relation to the tax affairs of Swift Technical Energy Solutions Ltd, a Nigerian subsidiary of the Swift Group of companies.  The value of the bribes alleged to have been paid is approximately £180,000. 

The defendants, all British nationals, are:

-       Paul Jacobs (age 57) of Hertfordshire, the former Chief Financial Officer of Swift

-       Bharat Sodha (age 49) of Middlesex, the former Tax Manager of Swift 

-       Nidhi Vyas (age 47) of Middlesex, the former Financial Controller of Swift

-       Trevor Bruce (age 43) of Northern Ireland, the former Area Director for Nigeria of Swift

Outline

Swift is a provider of manpower for the oil and gas industry, employing over 3,000 contractors in over 35 countries.  This prosecution has been brought following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in conjunction with the City of London Police into allegations that employees or agents of Swift had paid bribes to tax officials to avoid, reduce or delay paying tax on behalf of workers placed by Swift.  The charges relate to payments said to have been made to agents of the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue and the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue, both in Nigeria. The payments were made in 2008 and 2009.

Notes:

  1. The case has been sent to Southwark Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on 22 February 2013.  The defendants are on unconditional bail.
  2. The case was accepted for investigation by the SFO in August 2010 following a referral by City of London Police.
  3. The Swift Group has been co-operating with the SFO investigation and is not facing criminal charges.
  4. The SFO is an independent government department, operating under the superintendence of the Attorney General.  The aim of the SFO is to protect society by pursuing and prosecuting those who commit serious and complex fraud.  Its Director is David Green

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