reported earlier this year that Mr Andrew Behagg, a finance
director with Greenvale (a company that supplied potatoes to
Sainsbury's) was found guilty of corruption at Croydon Crown
Court. On Friday 22 June, Mr Behagg and Mr David Baxter, formerly
directors at Greenvale, together with ex-Sainsbury's potato
buyer Mr David Maylam, were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court in
Maylam and Baxter last year pleaded guilty to corruption and
acquiring criminal property. In sentencing last week, Maylam was
jailed for four years and Baxter was jailed for 30 months.
Behagg, who pled not guilty but was later convicted in May of
corruption by authorising payments to Maylam, was sentenced to
imprisonment for three years. Judge Ainley in sentencing said it
was "very nearly as serious a case of corruption as I can
Greenvale supplied approximately 45% of Sainsbury's potatoes
at the time of the corruption, at a cost of around £40
million per year. Individuals at the company bribed
Sainsbury's Maylam with lump sum payments, expensive trips and
hotel stays. As part of the scam, Behagg and Baxter were able to
collude with Maylam in overcharging Sainsbury's an estimated
£8.7 million. The bribery came to light after an internal
audit by Greenvale's parent company, Produce Investments.
Greenvale will be subject to a confiscation hearing due to be held
early next year.
Behagg did not initiate the corruption, and did not directly
benefit, but was "aware of what was happening at a very early
stage" and should have reported it, the court heard. The
Judge, in his sentencing remarks, said of Behagg "you admitted
in your own words that you were supposed to be the financial
gatekeeper. You deliberately walked away from your post."
What is of note is that all the men involved were long standing
employees, with a minimum of 20 years' service for their
A Sainsbury's spokesperson said: "This was an
unacceptable and calculated crime against Sainsbury's and we
are pleased that justice has been done. Today's sentencing
sends a very clear message to anyone that behaves in this way that
there are consequences to their actions.
"We demand the highest standards of all our colleagues and
suppliers and Sainsbury's code of conduct clearly details how
we expect them to behave, and is reinforced by our confidential
Produce Investments said: "[We have] no tolerance of
bribery, corruption of any other wrongdoing in business. The
sentencing of Andrew Behagg and David Baxter, formerly of
Greenvale, and of former Sainsbury's buyer John Maylam, should
serve to draw a line under this distressing saga".
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The ramifications for those found to be in civil contempt (as presided over by the High Court), and, in particular, the court’s power to enforce such a finding against a contemnor who resides overseas, are more far reaching than many (civil) lawyers realise.
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In the previous edition of Corporate Focus we reported that the Bribery Act 2010 (the Bribery Act) came into force on 1 July 2011 and we considered procedures that commercial organisations could put into place in order to prevent bribery.
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