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Forensic investigation uncovers abuse of trust

Member: Nifa

A painstaking and lengthy forensic investigation into abuse of trust by a former senior member of the Royal Household has led to the conviction of four people this week. The jury at the trial of Ronald Harper, who was employed by the Royal Household from 1994 to 2013, found him and his accomplices guilty of corruption and money laundering offences. Two other men had already been found guilty in the case in a previous trial.

In the position of deputy property manager, a role he took over in 2003, Mr Harper was responsible for managing mechanical and electrical contracts at three Royal palaces in London. However, following a call from the senior manager of a local firm who had identified some financial irregularities, investigations began in 2012.

The forensic investigators, including forensic accountants, looked at documentation dating back to 2006 and found that bribes of more than £77,000 had been paid for the award of large contracts for mechanical installation and maintenance work.

As one of the investigating officers commented, it was a long and complex investigation that took more than four years to conduct. During the course of the investigation, as is the norm in such cases, thousands of documents and financial records were scrutinised and the defendant’s lifestyle was analysed.  The investigators found that, not only was there gross abuse of trust but also that there had been conspiracy to provide corrupt payments and a huge amount of money laundering.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that it was a complicated prosecution but the convictions demonstrate the commitment of the CPS to hold to account those who seek to gain through corrupt practices. The meticulous and extensive investigation meant that the full extent of the defendants' corruption was exposed.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 14 August 2016

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