Jessica Fino 22 Dec 2016 12:32pm

Former Sweett Group director jailed for destroying evidence

A former managing director of a construction services company has been found guilty of destroying evidence relevant to an investigation into corruption in Iraq

Richard Kingston, from South Wales has been charged in connection with the ongoing Serious Fraud Office (SFO) bribery and corruption investigation.

He was convicted of concealing, destroying or otherwise disposing of two mobile telephones, knowing or suspecting that the data stored on those phones would be relevant to inquiries by the SFO and was sentenced to 12 months in prison on each count, to run concurrently.

Kingston was first arrested in 2014 in relation to suspected bribes paid by Sweett Group, a construction and professional services company for which he worked as a managing director in the Middle East. 

He was also arrested in June 2015 in relation to a separate SFO investigation that is also ongoing.

Tom Payne, representing the SFO in court, told the jury that despite knowing of the investigation, Kingston destroyed mobile phones containing emails, text and Whatsapp messages pertinent to the SFO investigation into alleged corruption relating to construction projects in Iraq.

Alun Milford, general counsel, said, “Richard Kingston actively took steps to frustrate our inquiries into his involvement, and that of others, in the suspected payment of bribes.

“We will not hesitate to pursue those who may set out similarly to disrupt our investigations.”

Sweett Group was ordered to pay £2.25m earlier this year after failing to prevent an act of bribery in the United Arab Emirates.