Four men have been sentenced for fraudulently supplying confidential information for a series of oil and gas engineering contracts worth £70 million, according to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
The men, three from the UK and one from Belgium, were convicted at Southwark Crown Court of conspiring to corruptly obtain payments in relation to the projects which were based in Iran, Egypt, Sakhalin Island (Russia), Singapore and Abu Dhabi, over the period 2001 to 2009.
The four defendants were engaged as agency workers for procurement companies and had access to confidential information. They indicated to suppliers who were bidding for contracts that information could be made available if they paid for it. The illicit payments were then disguised as consultancy services and shared out among the men.
Andrew Rybak of Newbury, Berkshire, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment; Ronald Saunders of Hook, Hampshire, was jailed for three years and six months. Philip Hammond of Brussels was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and Barry Smith of Hindhead, Hampshire, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months and was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.
Rybak and Hammond were also disqualified from acting as company directors for a period of 10 years.
Commenting on the sentences, SFO director Richard Alderman said: “Demanding backhanders in exchange for confidential and advantageous information saps business and is completely unacceptable to society.
“Hopefully these sentences will ring out the message loud and clear that the criminal justice system will do all it can to combat wrong-doing like this.”