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British procurement engineer jailed for taking foreign-project bribes

A British man was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to take bribes in connection with purchasing decisions for energy and infrastructure projects in Egypt, Russia, and Singapore.

Graham Marchment, 57, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in London for three counts of conspiracy to corrupt under section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison on each count to be served concurrently.

His guilty plea follows the conviction after trial of four co-conspirators as part of the same case in January 2012.

The Serious Fraud Office said in statement Monday,

Between 2004 and 2008, Marchment conspired with his co-defendants Andrew Rybak, Ronald Saunders, Philip Hammond, and others to obtain payments by supplying confidential information in relation to oil and gas engineering projects in Egypt, Russia, and Singapore.

Marchment worked as a procurement engineer and leaked confidential information to bidders in exchange for payments disguised as commissions, the SFO said.

The contracts for purchasing services that Marchment was involved in were worth around £40 million ($62 million).

The SFO said in an earlier release the contracts related to three projects:

QASR Gas Gathering Project in Egypt. In 2004 and 2005, JP Kenny based in Staines, UK provided procurement services to Khalda Petroleum Company for the development of the QASR gas fields in Egypt.

Sakhalin Island Project (Russia). Fluor Ltd. based in Farnborough, UK managed the procurement process for this project.

Singapore Parallel Train Project. In August 2005, Foster Wheeler Worley Parsons, a joint venture based in Reading, UK, was awarded the Singapore Parallel Train procurement contract.

The companies that provided procurement services for the three projects “helped the investigation enormously,” the SFO said in 2012. They weren’t charged.

Matthew Wagstaff of the SFO said in a statement Monday: “This result brings to a close a seven-year SFO-led investigation that covered numerous foreign jurisdictions. Collaboration with national and international agencies enabled the SFO to secure Marchment’s conviction, despite his attempts to evade justice for this greedy and parasitic crime.”

Marchment was living in the Philippines when the SFO told him he was wanted for questioning in the UK. At the time there was no extradition treaty between the Philippines and the UK.

The SFO said,

Marchment refused to return to the UK and so did not stand trial with his co-defendants. When his passport expired and he was unable to renew it because of the outstanding arrest warrant, he returned to the UK in December 2014, whereupon he was arrested and charged. He was denied bail.

City of London Police Detective Constable Martina McGrillen said: “Marchment’s imprisonment . . . sends out a clear message that if you break UK laws you should expect to face the consequences in a British court.”

“Hiding away overseas is not the answer. It is just delaying the inevitable,” McGrillen said.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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