A jury at Southwark Crown Court today convicted Dennis Kerrison and Miltiades Papachristos of conspiracy to commit corruption, following an investigation conducted by the Serious Fraud Office.
The convictions of Mr Kerrison, a former CEO of Associated Octel Corporation (subsequently renamed Innospec Limited) and Dr Papachristos, former Regional Sales Director for the Asia Pacific region, complete the SFO's six year investigation into Innospec, which led to two other individuals and Innospec entering guilty pleas.
Innospec itself pleaded guilty in March 2010 to bribing state officials in Indonesia and was fined $12.7 million. The bribes were intended to secure, or serve as rewards for having secured, contracts from the Government of Indonesia for the supply of Innospec products including Tetraethyl Lead, also known as TEL, a highly dangerous organo-lead compound that was created as an octane booster to be added to engine fuel. Leaded fuel, i.e. fuel that contains TEL, was banned in the UK in 2000 due to links between the compound and severe neurological damage.
David Green CB QC, Director of the SFO said:
"Today's convictions finally bring to an end a long-running investigation into corruption at Innospec.
"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.
"The SFO case team has had to resist sustained and extensive legal arguments designed to prevent a trial taking place. That it has now taken place is testament to the skills, professionalism and tenacity of those involved.
"I am very pleased that a jury has had the opportunity to deliver its verdict on the defendants' conduct."
Another former Innospec CEO, Paul Jennings, pleaded guilty in June 2012 to two charges of conspiracy to commit corruption and a further charge of conspiracy to commit corruption in July 2012. David Turner, former Innospec Sales and Marketing Director pleaded guilty to three charges of conspiracy to commit corruption in January 2012.
The sentencing of Dr Turner, Mr Jennings, Mr Kerrison and Dr Papachristos is expected to take place on 1 August 2014.
The SFO investigation into the conduct of these individuals was assisted by the US Department of Justice, the US Securities & Exchange Commission, the City of London Police, the Cheshire Constabulary, Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission and the Swiss and Singaporean authorities. The SFO would like to thank all agencies who helped to bring the case against the defendants.
Notes to editors:
- The US Department of Justice brought its investigation of both the UN's Oil-for-Food programme and the bribery of foreign government officials to the SFO's attention in October 2007. The SFO accepted the case against Innospec and its employees on 23 May 2008.
- Dennis Kerrison of Chertsey, Surrey is 69 years of age and Miltiades Papachristos of Thessaloniki, Greece is 51 years of age. Paul Jennings of Neston, Cheshire, is 57 years of age and David Turner of Newmarket, Suffolk is 59 years of age.
- Mr Kerrison and Dr Papachristos were both convicted of one count of conspiracy to corrupt, namely that they gave or agreed to give corrupt payments to public officials and other agents of the Government of Indonesia as inducements to secure, or as rewards for having secured, contracts from the Government of Indonesia for the supply of TEL manufactured by Innospec.
- The jury delivered a unanimous verdict.
- The alleged offences took place between 2002 and 2008. Mr Kerrison was charged in October 2011; Dr Papachristos was charged in February 2012. Both pleaded not guilty and their trial began at Southwark Crown Court in March 2014.
- Through their complicity in the payment of bribes to public officials in Indonesia Mr Kerrison and Dr Papachritos succeeded in significantly extending the period of time in which the citizens of Indonesia were sold leaded fuel. The extension of the period of time in which the citizens of Indonesia were sold leaded fuel took place despite the Indonesian government's desire to eliminate its use.
- On 7 February 2014 the Court handed down judgment on Dr Papachristos' application for a stay of the proceedings on the grounds of abuse of process. HHJ Goymer dismissed the application saying: "Even in the most unfavourable view, the actions of the prosecution didn't amount to an abuse of process."
- For further information on the guilty plea entered into by Innospec Ltd, please see here. For further information on the guilty pleas entered into by Dr Turner and Mr Jennings, please see here and here respectively.
- This is the first contested overseas corruption case brought by the SFO concerning the bribery of foreign public officials.
- The SFO is an independent government department responsible for investigating and prosecuting serious and complex fraud, bribery and corruption. It is headed by the Director, David Green CB QC, who exercises powers under the superintendence of the Attorney General. These powers are derived from the Criminal Justice Act 1987.
- Please contact SFO Press Office on 020 7239 7316 / 7004 / 7000 or 07823 361 663, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sfo.gov.uk
- This press release was amended on 15 July 2014 as a result of representations by T V Edwards LLP.