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Over £266,000 confiscated from contractors who bribed Edinburgh City Council officials

Kevin Thomas William Balmer, 54, and Brendan Cantwell, 46, were today made subject of confiscation orders totalling £95,000 and £171,223.92 respectively, having each previously been jailed for more than two years.

The two men served as co-directors of Action Building Contracts (ABC) Ltd, a construction company specialising in the refurbishment of buildings. At its height, the company turned over more than £4million each year and employed over 70 staff. ABC Ltd went into voluntary liquidation in 2010.

In 2015 they plead guilty to contravention of the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889, and Balmer to an additional charge of fraud, after they were found to have bribed Edinburgh City Council officials with cash payments and hospitality in exchange for being allocated maintenance and repair contracts.

The corruption involved the payment of bribes totalling over £42,000 and the provision of hospitality inducements worth over £30,000. The “hospitality” included corporate seats at football matches and nights out at bars and lap dancing clubs.

The fraud element of the case centred on the contractors’ practice of falsely inflating their invoices to the Council in order to cover the costs of the bribes.

The two council officials they bribed were also convicted and the subject of recent confiscation orders.

Speaking after today's hearing, Liam Murphy, Procurator Fiscal for Specialist Casework, said:

 “Balmer and Cantwell set out to corrupt those who should have been serving the people of Edinburgh, and siphoned money from the public purse into their own pockets.

 “Both were imprisoned for over two years, and today our detailed forensic assessment of their financial history has ensured that they have also been stripped of all of their assets.”