Brighton businessman accused of giving bribes for palace contracts

Posted On 30 Jul 2014 at 1:33 pm
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A company director from Stanmer Village is accused of bribing a Royal Household official in return for palace contracts.

David Woodhams, 46, a former director of DWEC, will stand trial at Southward Crown Court next month charged with one count of conspiracy to give and receive corrupt payments.

He is one of ten people to plead not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this week.

Luke Bulpitt, a lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service specialist crime division, said in a press statement: “Following an investigation by Leicestershire Police’s Financial Investigation Unit, the CPS has authorised charges against nine men and a woman in connection with alleged fraudulent activity concerning property management at the Royal Palaces.

“It is alleged that between 2006 and 2011, a number of company directors bribed Ron Harper, who worked as Deputy Property Manager at the Royal Household from 1994 until he was suspended in 2012, in return for him awarding them large contracts for work at the Royal Palaces. The work was funded by the then Civil List, now called the Sovereign Grant, and paid by the Government to the Royal Household.

“Between 2006 and 2011, it is alleged that Mr Harper was paid in excess of £100,000 by Christopher Murphy, Aseai Zlaoui, David Woodhams, Bernard Gackowski and Steven Thompson, the directors of three companies who were, during the same period, each awarded large contracts for work at the Royal Palaces.

“Two of the three companies additionally received ‘Royal Warrants’. A fourth company, it is alleged, was also awarded work in the Royal Palaces and provided Mr Harper with an oil tank and boiler system for his home free of charge.

“It is also alleged that some payments were funded as a result of individuals agreeing to an inflated price for work undertaken, with the excess used in part to fund bribes.

“In addition, it is alleged that a family member of Mr Harper was used to receive payments.

“The 10 individuals are charged with six offences, including conspiracy to give and receive corrupt payments, conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position and converting or transferring criminal property.”