UK's Balfour Beatty fined UK£ 2,25 million

By Richard High06 October 2008

UK engineering, construction, services and investment group, Balfour Beatty has agreed to pay UK £ 2.25 million plus a "significant" contribution to costs after the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigated payment irregularities at one of the construction firm's subsidiaries.

The fine relates to accounting irregularities in a joint venture between Balfour Beatty and an Egyptian company established to build the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandra, Egypt in 1996.

Balfour Beatty reported the irregularities to the SFO in April 2005 and accepts that unlawful conduct took place in its subsidiary.

The SFO found that the subsidiary, , which was disbanded over seven years ago, failed to keep accurate records regarding the contract, but decided that no charges would be brought against any company or individual.

The SFO recovered the money through a Civil Recovery Order (CRO).

A CRO does not require any specific offence to have been committed by any company or individual. The SFO only needs to show that the money it wants to recover is the proceeds of unlawful conduct.

The SFO has previously said it will not issue criminal proceedings against Balfour Beatty or any individuals in connection with the matter.

Balfour Beatty said it had introduced internal controls to prevent any similar accounting irregularities in future.

In a statement on its website, Balfour Beatty said, "There is no suggestion of any improper overall commercial advantage accruing to the company nor any financial advantage being gained by any individual employee and no adjustment is required to any Balfour Beatty financial statements."

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