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Former company director pleads guilty to £12 million bribery scheme

30 May, 2019 | Case Updates

Carole Ann Hodson pleaded guilty today at Walsall Magistrates’ Court to bribery in relation to a scheme to secure £12m worth of contracts for ALCA Fasteners Ltd, a company she owned at the time.

The scheme, which operated between 2011 and 2016 whilst Hodson was the Managing Director and majority owner, saw nearly £300,000 of bribes paid to Terje Moe, a purchasing manager employed by the Würth Group of companies, a customer of ALCA Fasteners.

Under the scheme, which continued until his retirement, Moe would receive 2.5% of the total of every order made by his company to ALCA Fasteners.

The bribes, which were paid in monthly cash instalments, came as 64 separate payments over the period. On one occasion, Ms Hodson also sent bespoke jewellery to Moe in a brown envelope placed within a shipment to his employer.

False invoices were created to justify the cash transfers, recorded in ALCA Fasteners’ accounts as ‘sales commission payments’ or other payments not related to genuine transactions, with Hodson later lying to her company’s auditors to disguise the true nature of the payments. To maintain the value of her company prior to selling it in 2017, Hodson then lied to the purchasers by claiming that the company had not been involved in any unlawful conduct.

Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office said:

“Justice has been served today.  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.”

The SFO began investigating the affairs of the company, including its officers, employees, agents and people associated with it, on 20 December 2017 following a referral by the company’s current owners and directors.

The case had not been announced until today.

Notes to editors

  1. Carole Ann Hodson (63) pleaded guilty at Walsall Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 30th May 2019.
  2. Terje Moe, the purchasing manager, pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the receipt of bribes, contrary to the Norwegian Criminal Code, on 6 July 2018 in Norway.
  3. The SFO investigation is ongoing. It began on 20 December 2017 following a voluntary referral by the current owners and directors of ALCA Fasteners Ltd. The Company and its new directors continue to cooperate in the investigation. No further information about the SFO’s case will be released at this time.
  4. The bribery scheme comprised of 64 payments made between 2011 and 2016, totalling £293,234.75, in relation to contracts worth approximately £12m in total.