Serious Fraud Office
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FH Bertling sentenced for $20m Angolan bribery scheme

FH Bertling Ltd was yesterday handed an £850,000 fine for a bribery scheme created to secure contracts in Angola.

Through that corruption, the company ‘won’ and retained $20m worth of freight forwarding services contracts for the company, paying bribes amounting to $350,000, resulting in 7 convictions against the company and its employees.

The 4 year investigation and prosecution by the SFO targeted FH Bertling’s involvement in an oil project in Angola, with employees bribing a local state oil company official to secure $20m worth of shipping contracts.

Commenting on the sentencing, HHJ Hehir yesterday said:

“This was a very serious piece of corruption indeed. It was planned and systematic.”

“The corruption of a public official brings huge risks of environmental and social harm as well as damaging and corrupting the commercial environment.”

The criminal investigation into corruption at FH Bertling began in September 2014, with the first charges announced in July 2016 and involved two separate cases – the ‘Jasmine’ and ‘Angola’ cases. In total, 13 individuals were charged as part of the SFO’s investigation, with 9 convicted of one of more charges and 4 individuals acquitted.

The investigation into FH Bertling’s business in Angola revealed that senior executives had conspired to pay bribes to an Angola state oil company agent to secure around $20m worth of shipping contracts. Joerg Blumberg, Dirk Juergensen, Marc Schweiger, Ralf Petersen (now deceased), Stephen Emler, Guiseppe Morreale and the company pleaded guilty prior to trial.  One defendant, Peter Ferdinand was acquitted.

Further information on our investigation, the trials and the FH Bertling cases can be found on our website here and here.

Notes to editors

  1. FH Bertling received an £850,000 fine for its conviction in the Angola case.
  2. Further information can be found on the FH Bertling Jasmine case page our website.
  3. Information about the previous FH Bertling Angola trial can be found here.
  4. FH Bertling is now in liquidation.


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