Shropshire Star

Company exec from Shropshire admits part in Coca-Cola contract fraud

A company executive from Shropshire has admitted being part of a multi-million fraud involving contracts with Coca-Cola.

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Former Coca-Cola manager Noel Corry took more than £1.5 million in bribes

Gary Haines, a director of Tritec Systems who lives in Market Drayton, won contracts because of inside information given to him by a manager at the fizzy drinks giant.

Noel Corry took more than £1.5 million in bribes from companies in exchange for helping them win lucrative contracts.

Tritec Systems was among those who benefitted by paying Corry a fee for inside information.

Corry paid back about £1.7 million to the soft drinks giant after it uncovered his nine-year scheme, Southwark Crown Court heard.

A judge was told how Corry, 56, who was a senior engineering manager responsible for identifying electrical services contractors for bottling plants in the UK, was forced to sell his family home and hand over his pension savings to repay Coca-Cola, when he was discovered in 2013.

He had to give Coca-Cola £1.7m and could now face years in prison for his part in the scheme, the court heard.

The court previously heard how Corry was given bribes through payments for "bogus" contracts for Coca-Cola, in which work was never carried out, or had Coca-Cola pay more than the actual amount charged for real work and was sent the difference, prosecutors said.

Between 2004 and 2013 he was said to have provided Tritec Systems and Electron Systems with insider information which helped them win contracts. He also gave information to Boulting Group, now named WABGS Ltd.

By the time he was discovered and dismissed, Corry had received more than £600,000 from Tritec Systems and Electron Systems and at least £950,000 from Boulting, the court heard. Boulting was said to have benefited by £13 million.

Corry kept track of his ill-gotten gains in a spreadsheet titled "slush" which investigators later found on his work laptop, the court heard.

Prosecutors said bribes would be made to him in the form of sham payments to a shell company he controlled through family members, Trojan Ltd, Alpha Windows – owned by his brother-in-law – or Axial Partnership Ltd, a company in which he was a partner.

He also received hundreds of thousands of pounds as sponsorship or through other payments to Droylsden FC, a football club also run by his brother-in-law and of which he was president, the court heard.

Corry would also arrange expensive entertainment events through corporate events company Sports Management UK Ltd, including one payment of more than £11,000 for Manchester United season tickets, which would then be paid by companies he favoured, a judge was told.

Haines, 60, a director of Tritec Systems who also controlled Electron Systems, Peter Kinsella, 58, a contract manager at Boulting, as well as the companies themselves, are also due to be sentenced with Corry.

Corry, of Lymm, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to five counts of corruption; Haines, of Market Drayton, entered guilty pleas to two counts of corruption; Kinsella, of Manchester, pleaded guilty to three counts of corruption and three counts of conspiracy to bribe.

WABGS pleaded guilty to one count of failure to prevent bribery; Tritec Systems pleaded guilty to corruption and failure to prevent bribery; Electron Systems pleaded guilty to corruption and failure to prevent bribery.

Christopher Harding, representing Corry, told the court that his "fall from grace" had a "profound" effect on his family and that Corry's son now suffered from "quite serious mental health problems".

Corry's wife, from whom he separated in 2016, knew nothing about the bribes and was "very adversely affected" by the fallout, the barrister told the court.

Mr Harding said: "He feels desperately guilty about the extent to which his selfish and dishonest offending has affected them."

"Mr Corry is truly remorseful for his involvement in these offences and that's demonstrated not only by restoring what he could to Coca-Cola in 2013 but by attempts to assist in the investigation," he added.

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