A former manager at Coca Cola Enterprises has been spared jail for corruption and bribery amounting to more than £1.5m after accepting Manchester United season tickets, concert tickets and cash.
Noel Corry, 56, a senior engineer for the UK firm, took bribes in exchange for helping favored companies win lucrative contracts from 2004 until he was fired in 2013.
Mr Corry, from Lymm in Cheshire, provided Boulting Group – now named WABGS Ltd – Tritec Systems, and Electron Systems with confidential and sensitive information which gave them an advantage over rivals when bidding for contracts.
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At Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, he was given a 20-month suspended sentence. His co-conspirators of him, which included a contract manager from Manchester and a director, were handed 12-month suspended sentences.
All three were ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and the companies themselves have been fined between £70,000 and £500,000 for failing to prevent bribery.
Corry was forced to sell his family home and hand over his pension savings to repay Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd £1.7 million when his nine-year scheme was discovered.
The court previously heard Corry was given bribes through payments for “bogus” contracts for Coca-Cola Enterprises, in which work was never carried out, or had the firm pay more than the amount charged for real work and was sent the difference, prosecutors said .
Prosecutors said bribes would be made to Corry in the form of sham payments to a shell company he controlled through family members, Trojan Ltd, Alpha Windows – owned by his brother-in-law – or Axial Partnership Ltd, a company in which he was to partner.
He also received hundreds of thousands of pounds as sponsorship or through other payments to Droylsden FC, a football club also run by his brother-in-law and of which he was president.
Corry would also arrange expensive entertainment events through corporate events company Sports Management UK Ltd, including one payment of more than £11,000 for Manchester United season tickets, which would then be paid by companies he favored.
By the time he was discovered and dismissed, Corry had received at least £950,000 from Boulting, while Tritec Systems and Electron Systems had paid more than £600,000 in bribes, the court heard.
Boulting, which was said to have benefited by £13 million, received a fine of £500,000, while the other two companies were made to pay £70,000. Corry pleaded guilty to five counts of corruption.
Kinsella, of Woodsend Road, Manchester, who worked as a contract manager at Boulting, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 21 months, and 200 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to three counts of corruption and three counts of conspiracy to bribe.
Gary Haines, 61, a director of Tritec Systems, of Pell Wall, Market Drayton, Shropshire was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 21 months, and 200 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to corruption.
WABGS Ltd (previously named Boulting Group Ltd) of Chapel Road, Warrington, was sentenced to a £500,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of failure to prevent bribery.
Tritec Systems Ltd, of London Road, Basingstoke, was sentenced to a £70,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of corruption and one count of failure to prevent bribery.
Electron Systems Ltd, of Chester Le Street, Durham, was sentenced to a £70,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of corruption and one count of failure to prevent bribery.
Each company was also ordered to pay £10,000 in costs with each individual ordered to pay £5,000 in costs.
Alistair Dickson of the CPS said: “Corry had established a corrupt culture in the procurement exercise, awarding contracts to those companies whose senior managers were prepared to bribe him for doing so.
“Coca Cola Enterprises were wholly unaware of Corry’s corrupt actions to enrich himself. The contracting companies should have had in place compliance measures which would have prevented the payments being made and led to the corruption being exposed.”
Detective Superintendent John Roch, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Corry, Haines and Kinsella worked hard to present themselves as reputable, reliable and genuine businessmen but in fact they were the exact opposite.
“Corry’s role was one of power; he was the subject matter lead within Coca Cola Enterprises UK and although he did not make the final decision on competitive tenders, his opinion carried considerable influence with both the project managers and procurement team.
“This is the first time the Met has charged and convicted a company with failure to prevent bribery and sends a strong message to individuals out there who seek to create an advantage for their business.”