Published on Saturday 12 May 2012 16:45
A finance director from Cambridgeshire on trial over bribes paid to a Sainsbury’s potato buyer has denied he was concerned about losing business with the supermarket giant.
John Maylam received cash and lavish expenses in return for lucrative contracts with potato firm Greenvale, Croydon Crown Court has heard.
But Andrew Behagg, accused of authorising payments to the potato buyer on behalf of Greenvale, has told the court he believed the payments were nothing more than “over-the-top” entertaining expenses.
The 60-year-old, one of the signatories of a bank account used to make payments to Maylam, said that there was a good relationship between his employers and Sainsbury’s.
It is the prosecution’s case that the supermarket chain was overcharged by a total of £3.8m, with the extra money going into the account.
Addressing Behagg, prosecutor Paul Ozin said: “You, I suggest, offered to Mr Maylam payments and gifts in return for getting him to show favour to you, that is to say, Greenvale, as opposed to competitors, in keeping Greenvale as a supplier to Sainsbury – in other words, keeping the valuable business.”
Behagg replied: “No. I don’t believe that. That’s untrue.”
Maylam, 44, of Bearstead, Maidstone, Kent, who earned millions through the scheme, and Greenvale account manager David Baxter, 50, of Hinstock, Market Drayton, Shropshire, were arrested after the company’s external auditor was alerted. Both men have admitted corruption and are yet to be sentenced.
Behagg, of Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, denies corruption between 2006 and 2008. The trial has been adjourned until Friday.
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