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Former F&P; staffer pleads guilty

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/03/2017

A former Fisher & Paykel Healthcare employee has pleaded guilty to a series of corruption-related charges over deals in the Middle East.

Simon William Hall, 49, pleaded guilty to one Crimes Act charge of obtaining by deception and two charges under Section 8 of the Secret Commissions Act at the Auckland District Court on Wednesday, the Serious Fraud Office says.

The charges relate to payments received by Hall for approving a Saudi Arabian company as a distributor of F&P Healthcare products and a single payment from a Jordanian company to also become a distributor.

Hall committed offences while in his role as an area manager based in Auckland and dealing with companies in the Middle Eastern market, the SFO said.

It is understood Hall received about $213,000 in payments.

"The acceptance of rewards outside of an employment contract which prohibits receipt of any commission or payment is a fraudulent act and unacceptable in New Zealand business whether it is on our shores or being conducted overseas," SFO director Julie Read said.

F&P Healthcare had no knowledge that Hall received these payments, the SFO said.

F&P Healthcare said it conducted an internal investigation when it became aware of the issue in 2014.

Following the outcome of that investigation, Hall was dismissed for misconduct and the matter was referred to the law enforcement agency, F&P Healthcare said in a statement to the stock exchange.

Hall was employed by F&P Healthcare in February 2002 and was dismissed in December 2014, the SFO said.

"We are disappointed with what has occurred. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare does not tolerate this type of behaviour and, following an independent review, we are confident in our systems to prevent a recurrence," F&P Healthcare chief financial officer Tony Barclay said.

Hall will appear for sentencing in the Auckland District Court on June 9.

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