Charles Forsyth and David Mabey made illegal kickbacks to secure work on 13 Iraqi bridges

Two former directors of engineering firm Mabey & Johnson were found guilty yesterday of making illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s government.

Charles Forsyth and David Mabey were convicted at Southwark Crown Court, south London, of handling €420,000 in illegal payments to secure a €4.2m (£3.6m) steel bridge works package.

The payments were made between 2001 and 2002 to secure work supplying Iraq with 13 steel bridges.

The kickbacks on the £3.6m contract won under the UN Oil for Food Programme were found to be in breach of UN sanctions.

Forsyth, who was M&J managing director at the time, and former chairman David Mabey will be sentenced later this month.

Mabey’s lawyer responded to the verdict, saying his client was “surprised and profoundly disappointed,” adding he was “personally unaware of any breaches of UN sanctions against Iraq”. He plans to appeal.

The company itself had already pleaded guilty to breaching UN sanctions and other offences in September 2009. Richard Gledhill, a sales executive at the group, had also admitted his involvement, pleading guilty at an earlier hearing, and gave evidence for the prosecution in the trial of Forsyth and Mabey.