Three former executives of Sarclad, a global supplier of advanced technology products to the metals industry, have been cleared today by a jury at Southwark Crown Court of taking part in a bribery plot.
The men were accused of conspiring with sales agents based overseas at different times between 2004 and 2012 to corruptly offer bribes to secure 27 separate contracts for their firm.
The jury at Southwark Crown Court rejected all the charges against ex-sales managers Adrian Leek and David Justice, and the former Managing Director, Michael Sorby.
After the jury delivered its decision, the judge removed reporting restrictions and the SFO has confirmed that these acquittals follow the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (or 'DPA') it reached with Sarclad in July 2016. Up until the lifting of the restrictions, Sarclad had been referred to as XYZ.
The contracts that were the subject of what was the SFO’s second DPA had a total value of over £17m. As part of the deal, Sarclad had agreed to pay financial orders of £6.5m. This was the first case of its kind to have human defendants following a DPA.
Paul Haycock, an Associate Director and Head of Irwin Mitchell’s Regulatory and Criminal Investigations group, acted for Adrian Leek.
Expert Opinion“Post Tesco, this verdict now fundamentally brings into question the DPA process and order of proceedings, where the DPA process has proceeded with the prosecution of individuals after the company has completed its DPA which is contrary to the identification principle that a company's liability is based on the acts of its officers and directors.
"This significant case has caused a great deal of stress and anxiety for my client. He is of course pleased to be acquitted of the accusation of bribery and delighted that he can now put this behind him and move on with his life.”
Paul Haycock - Associate Director