May 4 - The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged F.H. Bertling Ltd and four individuals with one count of conspiracy to give or accept corrupt payments, contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and section 1 of the Criminal Law
The SFO alleges that Robert McNally, Georgina Ayres, Giuseppe Morreale, Stephen Emler and F.H. Bertling Ltd conspired together and with others to give or accept corrupt payments for assisting F.H. Bertling Ltd in being awarded or retaining contracts for the supply of freight forwarding services relating to a North Sea oil exploration project known as Jasmine.
In addition, Christopher Lane has been charged with a separate count of conspiracy to give or accept corrupt payments, contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
The alleged activity occurred between January 2010 and May 2013.
F.H. Bertling Ltd and the above-named individuals were requisitioned on 28 April 2017 to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 19 May 2017.
It is the second time the SFO, which investigates and prosecutes high-level fraud, bribery and corruption, has filed charges against the UK arm of the German company.
As we reported here, seven individuals and F.H. Bertling Ltd were charged in July 2016 with making corrupt payments to an agent of Angolan state oil group Sonangol between January 2005 and December 2006 in an investigation that began in September 2014. Both Emler and Morreale were among the seven individuals named in that case, which is ongoing.
In response to the latest allegations, F.H. Bertling International GmbH says that "the individuals named on the charge either never were or are no longer employed by any Bertling entity worldwide," adding that "F.H. Bertling Ltd (UK) has been sold and deconsolidated as of 1st January 2017 and is no longer part of the Bertling Group."
The spokesman added: "F.H. Bertling International GmbH (Bertling), which was a shareholder at the time of the allegations, vigorously denies any previous wrongdoing in relation to these charges.
"The SFO is not investigating any current activities of Bertling Logistics Group member companies and we are trading as normal."