Bribery convict hangs appeal demand on Cameron’s ‘corrupt Nigeria’ gaffe
23 March 2017. By Martin Coyle.
An unguarded comment by former British Prime Minister David Cameron that Nigeria was "fantastically corrupt" has led an ex-sales director to appeal his conviction for bribery, MLex has learned.
Peter Chapman, former sales director at Australian banknote technology company Securency, is pushing for permission to appeal his conviction by a London court in May last year that led to a jail sentence of two and a half years.
He was prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office, and found guilty at Southwark Crown Court on May 11 of paying $205,000 in bribes to a Nigerian national mint official to win business contracts worth around 30 million euros.
On May 10, while the jury was considering Chapman's verdict, Cameron was caught on camera in the run-up to an anticorruption summit being hosted by the UK government saying: "We've got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain . . . Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world."
Chapman's lawyers claim that the timing of the comments and the link to Nigeria meant he didn't get a fair trial.
Chapman has had an initial application to appeal the conviction turned down, but will appear at the Court of Appeal on Friday next week to ask for permission. Judges will decide whether his case can proceed to a full appeal.
Cameron's comments were raised in court during Chapman's trial. Judge Michael Grieve warned that the comments risked prejudicing the trial and asked the jury to disregard them.
The SFO declined to comment.