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Swift Group

The Swift Group is a UK 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 allegedly made in 2008 and 2009. The value of the bribes alleged to have been paid is approximately £180,000. The Swift Group has been co-operating with the SFO investigation and is not facing criminal charges.

Defendants

Paul Jacobs (former Finance Director of Swift)
Two offences of conspiracy to corrupt, contrary Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977

(On the grounds of ill health the Attorney General granted a nolle prosequi for Paul Jacobs on 27 January 2015, which was announced at court during a hearing on 28 January 2015)
Bharat Sodha (International Tax Manager)
Two offences of conspiracy to corrupt, contrary Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977
Nidhi Vyas (former Financial Controller of Swift)
Two offences of conspiracy to corrupt, contrary Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

At the conclusion of the prosecution case the judge directed on 1 May 2015 that she should be acquitted of one offence. She remains on trial for the other.
Trevor Bruce (former Area Director for Nigeria of Swift)
Two offences of conspiracy to corrupt, contrary Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977

Outcome of criminal case

All three employees of Swift Technical Solutions Ltd, Bharat Sodha, Nidhi Vyas and Trevor Bruce, were found not guilty of corruption offences in relation to the tax affairs of a Nigerian subsidiary on 2 June 2015 at Southwark Crown Court The jury was unable to reach a verdict on one count against the third defendant and so a verdict of not guilty was entered. The prosecution sought a nolle prosequi in respect of Paul Jacobs on grounds of his ill health, which was granted by the Attorney General on 27 January 2015, and announced at a hearing on 28 January 2015.

Page published on 22 Apr 2015 | Page modified on 28 Apr 2016