Logistics and freight operations company F.H. Bertling and six current and former employees have been convicted of conspiracy to make corrupt payments to an agent of the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol, in relation to F.H. Bertling’s freight forwarding business in Angola and a contract worth approximately $20 million, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office announced.
Last year, the SFO charged F.H. Bertling, a U.K.-based subsidiary of the German-headquartered Bertling Group, and seven individuals with one count of making corrupt payments, contrary to Section 1 of the Criminal law Act 1977 and Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
The SFO alleged that Peter Ferdinand, Marc Schweiger, Stephen Emler, Joerg Blumberg, Dirk Juergensen, Giuseppe Morreale, Ralf Peterson, and F.H. Bertling conspired together and with others to bribe an agent of the Angolan state-oil company Sonangol to further F.H. Bertling’s business operations in that country. According to the SFO, the alleged activity occurred between January 2005 and December 2006.
One defendant was acquitted of the charges. Those that have pleaded guilty are Morreale, Emler, Blumberg, Petersen (now deceased), Juergensen, and Schweiger. On 1 August 2017, F.H. Bertling Ltd pleaded guilty.
Ferdinand was acquitted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court on 21 September 2017.