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F.H. Bertling Ltd (Project Jasmine)

The SFO’s investigation began in September 2014, with charges announced against FH Bertling employees and others connected with the case in April and May 2017.

The investigation focused on allegations FH Bertling had paid bribes to secure a ConocoPhillips freight forwarding contract, eventually worth over £16m for an oil exploration project in the North Sea.

Prior to trial, Stephen Emler and Giuseppe Morreale pleaded guilty to charges of bribery over a North Sea oil shipping contract. Christopher Lane pleaded guilty to a related charge involving a different bribery scheme and Colin Bagwell was found guilty by the jury of that offence.

The investigation also revealed a separate side agreement, with further bribes agreed to be paid to ensure that inflated prices charged by FH Bertling for other freight services were waved through without complaint by ConocoPhillips’s staff.

Colin Bagwell, Robert McNally, Georgina Ayres, Giuseppe Morreale, Stephen Emler and Peter Smith were all charged with:

  • Conspiracy to make corrupt payments, contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, relating to misconduct between January 2010 and December 2013.

Giuseppe Morreale and Stephen Emler pleaded guilty to the charge prior to trial.

Colin Bagwell, Christopher Lane and Peter Smith were charged with a separate count of:

  • Conspiracy to make or accept corrupt payments, contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, relating to misconduct between January 2010 and December 2010.

Christopher Lane pleaded guilty to this offence prior to the start of the trial.

Georgina Ayres, Robert McNally, and Peter Smith were acquitted of the charges on 27 November 2018. Colin Bagwell was acquitted of the first charge and convicted on the second relating to his conspiracy with Christopher Lane.

Sentencing

On Friday 11 January 2019 Stephen Emler, Giuseppe Morreale, Christopher Lane and Colin Bagwell were given the following sentences:

  • Stephen Emler was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment to be suspended for 2 years and fined £15,000 in relation to the SFO’s Angola investigation. He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment to be suspended for 2 years and to be served concurrently in relation to the Jasmine charge.
  • Giuseppe Morreale was sentenced to 2 years’ imprisonment to be suspended for 2 years and fined £20,000 in relation to the SFO’s Angola investigation. He was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment to be suspended for 2 years and to be served concurrently in relation to the Jasmine charge.
  • Christopher Lane was sentenced to 6 months’ imprisonment to be suspended for 2 years. A 28 days electronic curfew order was also imposed.
  • Colin Bagwell was sentenced to 9 months’ imprisonment to be suspended for 2 years, and ordered to pay a £5,000 fine.

Page published on 22 Jul 2016 | Page modified on 15 Feb 2021