Press release 30th Apr 2021

Response to corruption conviction of defence contractor GPT

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30 April, 2021 - Transparency International UK welcomes the conviction of Airbus subsidiary GPT Special Project Management after a near decade-long corruption investigation.

The defence contractor this week pleaded guilty to one count of corruption and was ordered to pay more than £30 million in fines. Three individuals are due to face trial in 2022.

The case has been one of the Serious Fraud Office’s longest running, with investigators first probing GPT’s activities in 2012. Transparency International UK, along with Spotlight on Corruption, wrote to the previous Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, in October 2019 to express concern over unexplained delays to authorisation to progress the case. 

 

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said:

“This corruption conviction must be a satisfying result for the Serious Fraud Office whose investigators have worked on this case for nearly a decade. After more than two years of unexplained delays, investigators were finally authorised to proceed with their probe by a new Attorney General last year.

“Prosecuting corporate corruption cases is essential to securing a level playing field for law-abiding British businesses approaching new international markets. The UK is currently among the top enforcers of foreign bribery – but only just. For Britain to maintain its position, it’s essential that the Serious Fraud Office is adequately funded to independently pursue even the most contentious of cases.”

 

Notes to editors:

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) launched an investigation into GPT Special Project Management in August 2012.

SFO investigators requested permission to prosecute GPT from the Attorney General’s Office three years ago.

Attorney General Suella Braverman gave permission for the prosecution to proceed in 2020.