Former Leighton CFO to be given two years imprisonment for falsifying the books

Written on the 30 July 2019 by Business News Australia

Former Leighton CFO to be given two years imprisonment for falsifying the books

Peter Alan Gregg, a former CFO of Leighton Holdings (LHL), is looking at two years in jail for cooking the books.

Gregg was found guilty in December 2018 after a five-week trial by jury for falsifying LHL's books.

Meanwhile, former LHL executive Russell Waugh who was managing director at Leighton Welspun Contractors Pvt Ltd, was found not guilty of one count of aiding and abetting the commission of an offence by Gregg.

Gregg would be required to serve one year of the term by way of home detention.

The charges followed revelations in 2016 from a Fairfax Media expose on a $15 million payment made to a consultancy in Dubai.

The payment instruction directed that USD$12.5 million be paid for the purpose of 'marketing and advisory' services and that USD$2.5 million be paid as a 'loan'. During the course of trial, the Crown alleged that the payment instruction was false because it did not describe the true purpose of the payment.

The judge today stated that "the evidence is overwhelming that the purpose of the offender in writing and sending the payment instruction, was to secure a waiver of the loan obligation which would accrue to Leighton Holdings."

The second count concerned a written agreement between LHL, executed by Gregg on its behalf, and Asian Global in December 2011 (but backdated to August 2011) for the provision of steel procurement services by Asian Global.

Judge Lakatos said today that this agreement was signed "in order to legitimise the payment of US$15 million".

"I conclude that the offender benefited in avoiding reputational damage to himself and Leighton Holdings, and that it was avoiding financial and reputational damage to his employer which primarily motivated him to engage in his conduct," says Judge Lakatos.

"Objectively the offender's criminality is serious and a substantial penalty should be imposed reflecting that fact."

In addition to the two-year sentence Gregg would also be disqualified from managing corporations for a period of five years.

The matter is before the court again on 29 August 2019 at which time Gregg will be sentenced.

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