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Bruce Hall sentenced to 16 months in prison

22 Gorffennaf, 2014 | Eitemau newyddion

Bruce Hall was today sentenced to 16 months in prison for conspiracy to corrupt, in relation to contracts for the supply of goods and services to a Bahraini company, Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba). Mr Hall served as CEO of Alba, from September 2001 to June 2005.

Judge Loraine-Smith, who presided over the hearing, heard how Mr Hall received £2.9 million in corrupt payments between 2002 and 2005, including 10,000 Bahraini dinars in cash from Sheikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, a member of the Bahraini royal family and at the time Bahrain’s minister of finance and Alba’s chairman. The payments were made in exchange for Mr Hall agreeing to and allowing corrupt arrangements that Sheikh Isa had been involved in before Mr Hall’s appointment as CEO to continue.

As a result of these corrupt payments, Mr Hall will need to pay a confiscation order of £3,070,106.03 in seven days or face serving an additional term of imprisonment of 10 years. Mr Hall must, in addition to the confiscation order, pay Alba compensation in the amount of £500,010 and pay £100,000 as a contribution to prosecution costs.

Commenting on Mr Hall’s actions, Judge Loraine-Smith said:

“In any view, this was an extremely serious use of corruption… You breached the trust that was placed in you as the CEO of Alba.”

“Corruption has been described as an insidious plague that has corrosive effects across communities … [But] there was a reluctance by you to accept that what was done by you was as corrupt as it so obviously was.”

However, Judge Loraine-Smith also noted that Mr Hall had cooperated with numerous authorities throughout the investigation. If he had not been so cooperative, Mr Hall could have faced around six years in prison, close to the maximum sentence for conspiracy to corrupt, the judge said. Due to his cooperation, Mr Hall was entitled to a 66% reduction in his sentence. He was also entitled to a further reduction of one-third due to entering a guilty plea.

The 119 days that Mr Hall spent in prison in Australia awaiting extradition will be taken off his sentence.

Charges

Mr Hall was charged with the following corruption offences in February 2012:

– Conspiracy to corrupt contrary to Section 1, Criminal Law Act 1977 and Section 1, Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

– Corruption contrary to Section 1, Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

– Acquiring and transferring criminal property contrary to Sections 329(1) and 327(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

He pleaded guilty on 27 June 2012 to the first charge above, namely that of conspiracy to corrupt.

As part of Mr Hall’s mitigation he also agreed to divest himself of other corrupt payments he received during his time as the CEO of Alba. These payments were not part of the indictment as the SFO did not have the jurisdiction to prosecute for the conduct acknowledged by Mr Hall. In order to recover these payments received by Mr Hall, which amount to US$900,000, the Director of the SFO elected to launch proceedings under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in the High Court. These proceedings were finalised at the High Court on 17 July 2014 but could not be made public until the start of the Mr Hall’s sentencing hearing yesterday.

Notes to editors:

1.Bruce Hall was charged in 2012 in relation to the SFO’s case against Victor Dahdaleh. The SFO subsequently dropped its case against Mr Dahdaleh after it concluded that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction in the case.

2.The SFO was represented by Philip Shears QC, while Mr Hall was represented by Mark Ellison QC.

3.Judge Loraine-Smith has now lifted all reporting restrictions previously in place regarding the trial of Mr Hall.

4.The additional two charges that Mr Hall did not enter pleas for, namely corruption contrary to Section 1, Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, and acquiring and transferring criminal property contrary to Sections 329(1) and 327(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, will lie on file and will not be proceeded with.

5.The investigation by the SFO opened in July 2009 with assistance from the City of London Police Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit. Additionally the SFO has been in liaison with foreign authorities.