September 26 - The UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has secured convictions against F.H. Bertling Ltd and six current and former employees that had been charged with conspiracy to make corrupt payments to an agent of the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol

Peter Ferdinand, one of the former employees who was originally charged, was acquitted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court on September 21, 2017.

In an official statement the SFO reported that Jose Morreale and Stephen Emler pleaded guilty to the charges on September 1, 2016.

On March 17, 2017, Joerg Blumberg, Ralf Petersen (now deceased), Dirk Juergensen and Marc Schweiger pleaded guilty.

On August 1, 2017, F.H. Bertling Ltd pleaded guilty.

SFO director David Green CB QC said: "F.H. Bertling sought to obtain contracts through bribery. Corrupt practice by British companies such as this undermines the UK's reputation as a safe place to do business and distorts the market, not to mention the damage it causes in the countries where the bribes are paid.

"This is a clear example of the SFO holding a company and its senior executives to account for corrupt behaviour, following an investigation that required skill, energy and determination to detect the extent and reach of this criminality."

The company and current and former employees were convicted of conspiracy to make corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal law Act 1977 and section (1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

Sentencing proceedings will be announced at a later date.

Responding to the convictions, Bertling Logistics confirmed its former subsidiary FH Bertling and six former employees pleaded guilty to a single count of bribery involving a USD250,000 payment made by a former subsidiary of the company in 2006.

The payment was made to a third party in Angola to enable release of a payment for work contractually done by the former subsidiary and to protect the livelihoods of its employees in the country.

None of the accused currently work for Bertling Logistics and the former subsidiary, F.H. Bertling Ltd., has been deconsolidated and sold to a third party.

Bertling Logistics says that it has also implemented a vast array of improvements to its compliance systems over the last years, which have allowed it to self-report issues, as well as plan for future improvements in this area.

 Not guilty: Peter Ferdinand