Convicted Eastbourne businessmen will have to pay back cash

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Two Eastbourne businessmen who were convicted of making corrupt payments to public officials for business contracts in Kenya and Mauritania have been ordered to pay back cash made through the deals.

Nicholas Charles Smith, the sales and marketing director of Eastbourne printing firm Smith & Ouzman who was jailed for the role he played in the corruption case, must repay £18,693 within eight weeks as well as costs of £75,000 within nine months.

His father Christopher John Smith, the company chairman who was given a suspended prison sentence and community service work, was ordered to pay £4,500 in confiscation within seven days and costs of £75,000 within three months.

It follows on from Friday’s news that the company, also convicted of making corrupt payments, must also pay a total of £2.2 million after a hearing at Southwark Crown Court.

The convictions in 2014 and hearing last week marked the end of a four-year investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

The Brampton Road 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.

The sum broken down included a fine of £1,316,799 as well as £881,158 to satisfy a confiscation order applied for by the Serious Fraud office and £25,000 in costs.

The fine is payable in instalments every six months until the full amount is paid, while the confiscation order must be satisfied within 28 days and the costs paid within six months.

In passing judgement, 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.”

The director of the Serious Fraud Office, David Green, said, “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.”

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