Legal

Orix chief charged with paying $504,000 in corrupt commissions to Coca-Cola

Eloise Keating /

The chief executive of one of Australia’s largest fleet management companies has been charged with paying more than $500,000 in corrupt commissions to an employee of Coca-Cola Amatil in order to secure vehicle leasing contracts.

Fairfax reports the high-profile scandal has so far resulted in three arrests, including Orix chief executive John Carter on April 2.

The arrest was made by New South Wales police fraud and cybercrime squad detectives, who established Strike Force Englefield in late 2014 after Coca-Cola Amatil reported suspicious activity relating to its fleet of vehicles.

NSW Police said in a statement last week the chief executive of a fleet-management company was charged with four counts of paying corrupt commissions and one count of money laundering. He has been granted conditional bail and will appear in the Downing Centre Local Court on May 1.

“The charges relate to four large deposits made into a bank account in June 2014 and February 2015, totalling $504,900,” said NSW Police.

“Police will allege the CEO was aware of the corrupt commissions and had provided advice in relation to how they were paid.”

A spokesperson for Orix Australia confirmed to SmartCompany this morning “two members of the company’s executive team, including the managing director, have been arrested by NSW Police as part of an investigation into alleged payment of corrupt commissions”.

“As the issue is subject to an ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide further information or comment at this time,” the spokesperson says.

According to The Australian, Carter’s company biography previously said he had been working for Orix Australia since the company was established in 1986.

The bio, which has seen been removed from Orix’s website, also said Carter was the “lead representative” for Orix’s international leasing network, which covered 18 countries including China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.

Orix Australia is a fully-owned subsidiary of Orix Corporation, which is based in Japan and listed on the Japan and New York stock exchanges. Carter is one of two Australian-based directors of the local subsidiary, which employs more than 300 employees and owns and manages more than $1.2 billion of assets.

Two other individuals have been arrested in relation to the scandal, with NSW detectives charging a Coca-Cola fleet manager and senior manager at Orix, who will appear at Burwood Local Court on April 14 and 21, respectively.

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola Amatil confirmed to SmartCompany this morning an employee of the company has been “arrested and charged with receiving corrupt commission and money laundering”.

“This matter is being investigated by the NSW Police Fraud and Cyber Squad, who are undertaking a full investigation,” the spokesperson says.

“Coca-Cola Amatil is providing its complete co-operation and support to the police and whilst the police investigation and court proceedings are on foot it is inappropriate for us to comment further.”

NSW Police have not ruled out further charges being laid.

“White-collar crime – and in particular, employee-related fraud – costs the NSW economy millions of dollars,” said detective superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis in the same statement.

“Through our corporate corruption unit, we will continue to work with the business community to eradicate this issue and to ensure NSW is a clean slate to do business.”

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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