Serious Fraud Office
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SFO secures seven convictions in $20m F.H. Bertling corruption case

It can today be reported that F.H Bertling Ltd and six current and former employees have been convicted of conspiracy to make corrupt payments to an Angolan state oil company agent, Sonangol, to secure and retain a freight and forwarding contract worth approximately $20m.

The individuals convicted were former employees of the company.

On 1 September 2016, Jose Morreale (62) and Stephen Emler (49) pleaded guilty to the charges.

On 17 March 2017, Jorg Blumberg (71), Ralf Petersen (now deceased), Dirk Jurgensen (46) and Marc Schweiger (47) pleaded guilty.

On 1 August 2017, F.H. Bertling Limited pleaded guilty.

Peter Ferdinand (78) was acquitted by jury at Southwark Crown Court on 21 September 2017.

SFO Director David Green CB QC said:

“FH Bertling sought to obtain contracts through bribery. Corrupt practice by British companies such as this undermines the UK’s reputation as a safe place to do business and distorts the market, not to mention the damage it causes in the countries where the bribes are paid.

“This is a clear example of the SFO holding a company and its senior executives to account for corrupt behaviour, following an investigation that required skill, energy and determination to detect the extent and reach of this criminality.”

Notes to editors

  1. The company and former employees were convicted of conspiracy to make corrupt payments, contrary to section (1) of the Criminal law Act 1977 and section (1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
  2. Sentencing proceedings will be announced at a later date.


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