Royal Household worker took bribes in return for contracts at palaces

Court news.

Court news.

Four people involved in the bribery of a former senior staff member at the Royal Household have been found guilty of corruption and money laundering offences.

During the course of two trials at Southwark Crown Court, London, the juries heard how Ronald Harper, who was employed by the Royal Household from 1994 to 2013 and held the position of deputy property manager from 2003, was paid cash by the offenders in return for contracts at the royal palaces.

In his position Harper was responsible for managing mechanical and electrical contracts at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and St James’ Palace.

Investigations by Leicestershire Police’s Economic Crime Unit began in January 2012 following a call from the senior management of a local company, Melton Power Services Ltd, who had identified some financial irregularities.

Officers looked back to financial activities from 2006 and it revealed the directors of two companies - BSI Nordale and Melton Power Services - paid Harper more than £77,000 in the period when they were awarded large contracts for mechanical installation and maintenance work at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and St James’ Palace.

Harper also used a family member to receive some of the payments.

Reporting restrictions were imposed by the court and have been lifted on conviction.

Detective Constable Wayne Leah, the investigating officer and formerly of Leicestershire Police’s Financial Investigation Unit, said: “This was a long and complex investigation which has taken over four years to come to court.

“Thousands of documents and financial records were scrutinised in order to gather the evidence which has proved that Harper grossly abused his position of trust at the Royal Household for his own personal financial gain.

“He took money from others to fund his own lifestyle and these company directors were happy to pay him the cash in return for favour when tendering for lucrative contracts and the resultant valued association with the Royal Household.

“These company directors obliged in paying cash to Harper knowing that, in return, the work they would receive from the Royal Household would gain them valuable kudos.”

Ronald Harper (63), of Churchgate, Glemsford, Suffolk, was found guilty of conspiracy to receive corrupt payments from principals of Melton Power Services and BSI Nordale Ltd.

Christopher Murphy (56), of Purcell Road, Witham, Essex, director of BSI Nordale Ltd, was found guilty of conspiracy to make corrupt payments to Ron Harper.

Aseai Zlaoui (41), of Baker Way, Witham, Essex, director of BSI Nordale Ltd, was found guilty of conspiracy to make corrupt payments to Ron Harper.

Alan Rollinson (67), of Hunts Hill, Sudbury, Suffolk, was found guilty of money laundering in respect of £20,000 received from BSI Nordale Ltd.

At an earlier hearing two Melton men pleaded guilty to charges:

Stephen Thompson (62), of Ross Close, Melton, former director of Melton Power Services, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide corrupt payments to Ronald Harper between 2006 and 2011.

Glyn Orridge (67), of Tamar Road, Melton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position by Stephen Thompson. This related to inflated invoices submitted to Melton Power Services to fund bribes paid to Ron Harper.

All six men will be sentenced on September 28.