January 8 2016
UK printing company Smith and Ouzman Ltd, convicted of making corrupt payments, was today ordered to pay a total of £2.2 million in a sentencing hearing at Southwark Crown Court. The conviction and sentence follows a four-year investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
The Eastbourne-based company, which specialises in security documents such as ballot papers and exam certificates, was convicted in December 2014 under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. The corrupt payments totalling £395,074 were made to public officials for business contracts in Kenya and Mauritania.
Two employees of the company were sentenced in February last year for their role in the corruption. Its chairman, Christopher John Smith, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work.
Nicholas Charles Smith, the sales and marketing director of the company, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
In passing sentence, Recorder Andrew Mitchell QC said:
“Corruption of foreign officials is damaging to the country in which the corruption occurs, is damaging to the reputation of UK business and of course, in the market in which a business operates, it is anti-competitive.”
Director of the SFO, David Green CB QC commented:
“The bribery of foreign officials by UK companies damages this country’s reputation, commercially, politically and ethically. The SFO will pursue such criminal behaviour at both the corporate and individual level.”