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UK printer fined £2.2 million for Africa bribes

UK printing company Smith and Ouzman Ltd was ordered to pay a total of £2.2 million ($3.2 million) Friday by the Southwark Crown Court in London.

In December 2014, a jury convicted the company and two executives of paying about $600,000 in bribes to public officials for printing contracts in Kenya and Mauritania.

Smith and Ouzman Ltd marketing director Nicholas Smith, 43, was sentenced in February to three years in prison.

His father, chairman Christopher Smith, 72, was given an 18-month suspended sentence. He was also ordered to serve a three-month curfew and perform 250 hours of unpaid community service.

The jury found the company and the younger Smith guilty of three counts of corruptly agreeing to make payments contrary to section 1(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. The elder Smith was convicted on two counts.

Two other defendants were acquitted.

 The company specializes in printing security documents such as ballot papers and certificates.

The court Friday fined the company about £1.3 million ($1.9 million) and ordered it to pay about £881,000 ($1.28 million) to satisfy a confiscation order, plus £25,000 ($36,000) in costs.

The court also ordered Nicholas Smith to pay a confiscation order of £18,693 ($27,000) and costs of £75,000 ($109,000). Christopher Smith was ordered to pay £4,500 ($6,500) in confiscation, and costs of £75,000.

The sentencing official, 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.”

The SFO started its investigation in October 2010. It said the offenses occurred from 2006 to 2010.

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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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