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PROCEEDS OF CRIME: Judicial Interests investigation reveals top Sheriff Principal has shares in company fined £13.9million for Iraq bribes case & mining giant caught in China bribe scandal

14 May

MSPs debate judicial interests register, Top judge Alistair Dunlop revealed to have shares in bribes link firm. WHILE the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee continues to investigate proposals to create a register of interests for the judiciary contained in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland’s judiciary, it has been revealed in the media that a top Scottish judge holds shares in a firm hit with a £13.9 million Proceeds of Crime fine for bribing Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Details of the Sheriff’s investments have come to light in disclosures contained in a limited register of interests covering a select few members of a judicial quango headed by Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord President Lord Brian Gill who is personally opposed to the creation of  a register of judicial interests for all members of Scotland’s judiciary – plans which are currently being discussed by msps at Holyrood.

The latest information, published by the Scottish Sun newspaper reveals that Sheriff Principal Alistair Dunlop QC, who is in charge of Tayside Fife & Central, has shares in Weir Group, which pled guilty to paying ‘kickbacks’ in return for contracts from Saddam Hussein’s government. The Weir Group also admitted facilitating the payment of kickbacks by paying a fee of more than £1.4 m to their agent, an Iraqi national, to the same Swiss bank account. The agent made the payments to the Iraqi government on behalf of Weir.

The paper also revealed that Sheriff Principal Dunlop has shares in British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, who were involved in bribes scandal in China where four of its executives including an Australian citizen, were found guilty of accepting millions of dollars in bribes and stealing commercial secrets. The four were given sentences of 7 years to 14 years in prison.

The case saw Rio Tinto accused of using stolen information to harm China’s economic interests, costing Chinese steel mills an additional $150 million a year. From 2003 to 2009, the court said, the four defendants used “improper means” to gain information that allowed Rio Tinto to “jack up the price that China paid for its iron ore imports.”

Further disclosures on investment links between members of Scotland’s judiciary and companies involved in criminal charges, prosecutions and scandals both at home and abroad is expected to be published soon.

The Scottish Sun on Sunday reports:

JUDGE HAS SHARES IN BRIBE FIRM

Stocks Register Plea

EXCLUSIVE: by Russell Findlay

Scottish Investigations Editor The Scottish Sun on Sunday May 11 2014

A TOP judge holds shares in a firm hit with a £13.9million proceeds-of-crime bill for bribing Saddam Hussein’s regime,The Scottish Sun on Sunday can reveal.

Sheriff Principal Alastair Dunlop 62, has a stake in Glasgow based Weir Group, hammered in 2011 for paying kickbacks to land contracts in Iraq.

He also has shares in mining giant Rio Tinto, whose executives admitted bribery in China four years ago.

Sheriff Dunlop – the most senior sheriff in Tayside, Central and Fife – must declare his interests as a Scottish Court Service Board member but they are not made public.

Last night campaigner Peter Cherbi – who led calls for a register to improve transparency – said "I believe judges like Sheriff Principal Dunlop cannot hold investments in firms guilty of breaking the law"

Tory MSP John Lamont added "The public would fully expect judges to be transparent. A register would improve public confidence."

Sheriff Dunlop declined to comment but the Judicial Office for Scotland said investments were "a matter for the individual".

Previous articles on the lack of transparency within Scotland’s judiciary, investigations by Diary of Injustice including reports from the media, and video footage of debates at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee deliberations on Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland’s judiciary can be found here : A Register of Interests for Scotland’s Judiciary

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