Three former G4S executives charged in Britain

LONDON (Reuters) - Three former executives of security services group G4S Care and Justice Services (G4SCJ) have been charged with fraud over a multi-year scheme to defraud the Ministry of Justice, the UK Serious Fraud Office said on Tuesday.

Richard Morris, a former managing director, and Mark Preston and James Jardine, who worked at G4SCJ’s electronic monitoring business, were each charged with seven offences in connection to false representations made to the MoJ between 2009 and 2012.

Morris, Preston, the former commercial director of the electronic monitoring business, and Jardine, its one-time finance manager, will appear at London’s Southwark Crown Court on Oct. 6.

Ross Dixon, a partner at law firm Hickman & Rose who is representing Morris, said his client “refutes these allegations in the strongest possible terms”.

“He will robustly contest the charges and is confident he will be cleared of any wrongdoing,” he said.

The charges were announced two months after the SFO struck a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with G4SCJ, a wholly-owned subsidiary of G4S Plc GFS.L, which offers services spanning prison management to workspace controls and contact tracing.

Under the DPA - which only relates to the potential criminal liability of G4SCJ and does not address whether liability attaches to current or former employees or agents - G4SCJ was fined 38.5 million pounds ($50.2 million) and has to meet compliance obligations and submit to periodic review.

“G4S has settled this matter with the customer via a full commercial settlement and agreed a DPA with the SFO,” a spokesperson said. “It is not appropriate for us to comment on the individual cases.”

($1 = 0.7671 pounds)

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Huw Jones and Jan Harvey