Potatoes at the bottom of grocery bribery scandal. / REUTERS
I say potato, you say pota…uh, oh.

Three men are now headed for the big house after being sentenced in Britain for their roles in a potato corruption scam involving supermarket chain Sainsbury’s.

As the Daily Mail reports, the case involves a potato buyer – a company called Greenvale – that paid millions of dollars’ worth of lavish bribes to officials at Sainbury’s in exchange for contracts to supply the grocery chain with their spuds.

The bribes included “cash, gifts and luxury hospitality” totaling nearly $8 million. Some of the most blatant instances include a six-figure luxury hotel bill, a 12-day vacation to the Monaco Grand Prix, and high-end sports cars, the Mail reports.

What’s more, Greenvale actually came out on top financially. That’s because part of the scam centered on overcharging Sainbury’s for the potatoes, to the tune of about $14 million – enough to cover the bribes, and then some.

Sweep to Corrupt Sainsbury’s buyer jailed

Two former employees of Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin will appear in a Canadian court Monday to face corruption charges stemming from a bridge project in Bangladesh.

As the Canadian Press reports, Ramesh Shah and Mohammad Ismail were arrested and charged several months ago in relation to alleged bribes offered to Bangladeshi officials to win a large bridge contract, but Canadian law enforcement did not disclose the charges at the time. They formally did so only after a Bangladeshi newspaper broke the news earlier this week.

SNC-Lavalin is Canada’s largest engineering and construction company. Canadian police raided one of the company’s offices last year seeking evidence associated with the bridge contract, and the World Bank has suspended a $1.2 billion loan and barred the company from bidding on contracts in Bangladesh, according to the Canadian Press.

Sweep to Two former SNC-Lavalin employees charged with corruption

Three city officials in the Southern California city of Cudahy – including the mayor – have been charged with federal bribery, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Federal prosecutors charged the three officials with “soliciting and accepting $17,000 in bribes from someone who wanted to open a medical marijuana dispensary,” the Times reports.

Also, FBI agents showed up at Cudahy’s city hall this week, seeking documents related to two recent city council elections.

The working-class, largely Latino city of 24,000 is adjacent to Bell, the small L.A.-area municipality that became infamous in 2010 after rampant corruption was exposed – including Bell officials who were paying themselves outsize six-figure salaries.

Sweep to Three Cudahy city officials face federal bribery charges

 

Aaron Kessler
Aaron Kessler is an award-winning journalist who for nearly a decade has investigated a wide range of subjects from financial crimes by corporations and individuals, to politics and government abuses at the local, state and federal levels, to terrorist financing networks.
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