The ringleader of a multi-million pound international corruption ring within the energy sector – which saw payment of an estimated £700,000 in kickbacks to conspirators – has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that he did not receive a fair trial.
The businessman had used false names in order to obtain confidential information which he then sold to those engaged in bidding for contracts to supply parts for the energy industries of Iran, Egypt, Singapore, Russia and Abu Dhabi.
He and others involved had offered inside information to tenderers, on one occasion handing over a document which contained the entire details of a company’s bid to a competitor. The conspiracy was said to have run for almost eight years.
He was jailed for five years after a jury convicted him of five counts of conspiracy to corrupt. In passing sentence, the trial judge described the conspirators’ behaviour as ‘parasitic’ and said that they had ‘leeched’ money to line their own pockets without the slightest regard for others’ interests.
The businessman argued on appeal that the fairness of his trial was compromised by the fact that he had represented himself during the complex hearing after dispensing with his legal advisers. It was also submitted that the judge had misdirected the jury.
However, in dismissing his challenge, the Court found that the judge’s summing up of the case had been fair and noted that she ‘took pains’ to help the businessman through the trial process. The Court concluded, “The judge was, we emphasise, dealing with an intelligent and resourceful defendant.”