A businessman was convicted of giving bribes to secure a Nigerian bank note printing contract after a judge warned a jury to ignore David Cameron’s controversial remarks about corruption.
Peter Chapman, 54, bribed an official at the Nigerian mint to secure a ‘multi-million-euro’ contract for an Australian manufacturer that he managed.
His conviction comes a day after Mr Cameron’s toe-curling gaffe where he was caught on camera being indiscreet about the countries he had invited to a key anti-corruption summit tomorrow.
The Prime Minister was clutching a wine glass and making small talk with the Queen at a Buckingham Palace reception when he branded Nigeria ‘fantastically corrupt.’
But at Southwark Crown Court Judge Michael Grieve, QC, warned the jury that the Prime Minister’s remarks were ‘gross generalisation’.
The court heard that the central bank of Nigeria were making the political decision whether to convert bank notes from paper notes to polymer notes.
Chapman made payments totalling £136,000 between July 2007 and March 2009 to secure orders of polymer substrate for his company.
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Chapman sent the money via a private company he used as a consultancy business to help agree oil contracts between Russia and the UK.
Before they returned their verdicts, jurors had been advised to ‘completely ignore’ the Prime Minister’s unguarded comments.
Judge Grieve told them: ‘You must try this case on the evidence before you in this court and nothing else.
‘I am doing so because of certain remarks made by the Prime Minister yesterday on the subject of corruption which have been widely reported by the press and other parts of the media.
‘You must completely ignore anything you may have seen or heard or read about what the Prime Minister said.
‘It was almost certainly a gross generalisation and certainly had no direct relevance to anyone involved in this case.’