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Two men jailed
Simon Davies and Robert Gillam

Two men have been jailed following an international investigation into bribes

Two former directors of a defence company have been jailed today (28 September) at the Old Bailey following an international investigation into the payment of bribes by the pair to secure multi-million pound contracts.

Former defence company director Robert Gillam, 66 of Chapel Lane, Corfe Castle, Dorset was jailed for two years and his business partner Simon Davies, 46, of Hightown Hill, Ringwood, Hampshire was jailed for 11 months. Gillam was also disqualified from being a company director for five years and Davies for two years, and officers are now commencing with confiscation proceedings against the pair under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Both Gillam and Davies previously pleaded guilty to the payment of bribes on 3 June.

The offences were uncovered following a joint investigation by the City of London Police’s Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit (OACU), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) which discovered a series of bribes made by the UK company Mondial Defence Systems Ltd to secure a contract worth over five million dollars with US company Ronco Consulting Corporation, a supplier to the US government.

The payments were made to Ronco’s Operations Manager Robert Gannon to secure a number of business contracts to supply military items such de-mining equipment to armed forces based in countries including Afghanistan and Iraq.

In November 2015, Robert Gannon, a British national was jailed in the US for a year for conspiracy to accept a kickback. Gannon was also ordered to two years of supervised release, followed by expulsion from the US, with prevention from participation in any contracts involving the US military for life, and was ordered to pay a fine of $193,665.00 and all monies received from the sale of his house in Scotland.

Detectives at OACU launched an investigation in August 2014 following receipt of intelligence to suggest that Mondial Defence Systems were involved in the payment of bribes to a Ronco employee.

Detectives identified that the contract between Mondial and Ronco was awarded at the same time that Davies and Gillam made two payments – one of £72,000 and one of $75,000 - into Gannon's personal off-shore bank account. Gannon was, at the time, Operations Manager for Ronco and held a key role in deciding who should be awarded the lucrative contracts.

On 2 December, 2014 officers arrested Gillam and Davies in Dorset, England. Officers seized computer hardware and documentation. These items provided evidence confirming the illegal financial activity between Gannon, Davies and Gillam in the form of numerous email conversations.

One email Gillam received from Gannon on Christmas Eve 2009 followed a personal payment of $75,000. It said: " Bob Great news - this seems to have done the trick - santa left his parcel. Much appreciated. Here is to 2010 being a good year."

Throughout police interviews both Gillam and Davies acknowledged that they had made the payments, although Gillam described the payments as "a gift... appreciation of help" stating "we would never have won it without goodwill. We had to have the open" telling Davies to " give this guy something and make sure he's happy and make sure he's on side". He describing the payments as " a nominal amount, if you were working in the middle East you'd be paying 25% on the contract otherwise you wouldn't get the business, in the scope of things its nominal ".

Detective Sergeant Joanne Ferguson, from the City of London Police said: "Mondial were a small company which used dishonest and corrupt practices to get ahead in business, stealing opportunity from honest competitors.

"This type of crime harms the reputation of UK business making it impossible for genuine businesses to compete, ultimately causing a ripple effect which not only affects the UK economy but local businesses as well.

"This investigation demonstrates how our strong working relationship with overseas law enforcement identifies and disrupts crime across international borders, protecting the UK from those audacious enough to consider committing corruption on this scale."

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan John Sopko said: "Today's ruling underscores the importance of international law enforcement coordination and cooperation, and demonstrates the impact it can have on our efforts in Afghanistan."