England cricketer denies wrongdoing after bribery report

The report accused Phil Edmonds and his business partner of 'fleecing millions from investors'.

London: Former England cricketer Phil Edmonds "strenuously" denied accusations of wrongdoing Thursday after a campaign group claimed he and a partner "carved out an African business empire with bribery and dirty tricks".

Sable Mining, a company co-founded by Edmonds and his business partner Andrew Groves, said a report the company had bribed African officials was based on "unreliable" testimony.

Anti-corruption campaign group Global Witness had accused Edmonds and Groves of a "multi-million dollar heist" in an investigation it said was based on leaked emails and company files.

Released on the eve of an international summit on corruption in London, the report accused the two of "fleecing millions from investors as they carved out an African business empire with bribery and dirty tricks".

It said Sable Mining spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars bribing top officials" to secure a mining concession in Liberia in 2010.

Among the documents leaked was a spreadsheet of bribes to Liberian politicians that had been emailed to Sable Mining's chief executive Groves, the campaign group said.

In a statement to AFP, Sable Mining defended Groves, Edmonds and a non-executive director of the company, Aboubacar Sampil, who was also named in the report.

"Mr Groves, Mr Edmonds and Mr Sampil strenuously deny any wrongdoing," the statement said.

It added that the company would undertake a review of the issues raised by the report.

"Sable is committed to ensuring that its business is conducted in a responsible and ethical manner and that any breaches in internal anti-bribery policies and procedures will result in disciplinary action," Chairman Jim Cochrane said in the statement.

"We have found no evidence to support or justify this attack on the Company or its directors, past and present."

Edmonds was chairman of Sable Mining until 2014.

( Source : AFP )
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