Coca-Cola manager, 56, who took £1.5m in backhanders in nine-year corruption scandal spared jail

Coca-Cola manager, 56, who took £1.5m in backhanders in nine-year corruption scandal spared jail

His responsibilities included locating electrical contractors for bottling factories around the UK, although in some cases he awarded ‘fresh air’ contracts where no actual work was ever completed.

Corry also took executive season tickets at Manchester United and contributed to his local non-league football team, Droylesden FC, which is owned by his brother-in-law.

He was, however, spared prison after being sentenced to a suspended sentence for corruption and bribery crimes at Southwark Crown Court on Friday.

The two bosses of his favoured companies Gary Haines, 61, and Peter Kinsella, 58, were also sentenced to suspended prison terms.

James Mulholland QC, prosecuting, said the case concerned ‘corruption and bribery involving Coca-Cola Enterprises UK Limited (CCE) and related companies’ between January 2004 and August 2013.

He told the court: ‘Corry was the creator of the dishonest scheme and was at the heart of the offending until his dismissal on August 6, 2013, upon discovery of his conduct.

‘He ensured that a large volume of work at Coca-Cola premises went to various companies including Boulting Group Ltd, Tritec Systems Ltd and Electron Systems Ltd in return for large sums of money paid directly or indirectly to him.

‘Mr Corry had the power to award general contracts directly or through a tender process. He would determine which work needed to be done and by whom.

‘The way the scheme worked is that Mr Corry would ensure that companies were awarded genuine CCE contracts at inflated rates or contracts were raised in their names for bogus work never intended to be completed.

‘The companies would invoice and then be paid. The extra money generated created a slush fund held on behalf of Noel Corry.’

Corry was paid the bribes via a network of shell companies including Trojon and Alpha Windows, while a slew of bogus invoices were provided to support the crooked payments.

In 2011 Coca-Cola changed the rules on how contracts for large projects were issued so they had to be put out for tender.

A company named Boulting, whom Corry had worked for before joining Coca-Cola in 1996, were regularly involved in the bidding process.

He would email Peter Kinsella, 58, then contract manager at Boulting, to provide confidential and advantageous information about the bid – including Coca-Cola’s views on each rival bidder’s strengths and weaknesses.

The scheme was uncovered when Boulting accidentally included a price comparison with another rival when asked to provide a breakdown of travel expenses in February 2013, but Corry denied responsibility.

Suspicions were further raised when Corry pressed to be involved in Coca-Cola’s commercial meetings, the court heard.

The drink giant subsequently began investigating Corry in July 2013 and he was dismissed a month later.

He was arrested at his luxury £1m home Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, in November 2013.

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