Friday 23 March 2018

GoSafe speed van sister firm caught in $2m Chicago bribery scandal

One of GoSafe's mobile road safety cameras Photo: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
One of GoSafe's mobile road safety cameras Photo: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A sister company of one of the firms in the GoSafe consortium has become embroiled in a major bribery scandal in the US.

Redflex Traffic Systems is at the centre of a corruption case which has seen an official in Chicago convicted of bribery, conspiracy, extortion and fraud.

It is an Australian company whose sister firm Redflex Traffic Systems Pty Ltd is part of the GoSafe consortium. Both companies are owned by Australian company Redflex Holdings.

Redflex Traffic Systems Pty Ltd is a member of the GoSafe group which won the first ever contract to operate speed cameras on behalf of An Garda Siochána.

The Chicago case involved city transportation manager John Bills, who received nearly $600,000 (€535,000) in cash, as well as gifts funded by Redflex Traffic Systems.

These included holidays, golf outings, expensive hotel stays, a Mercedes convertible, a speedboat and an apartment.

The value of the bribes has been put at up to $2m (€1.78m).

The bribes were given after Mr Bills used his influence so that Redflex's US affiliate was awarded $100m (€89m) in contracts to provide speed cameras at traffic lights in Chicago between 2003 and 2011.

Redflex Traffic Systems Pty Ltd is one of three partners in GoSafe, a private consortium contracted in 2009 to operate mobile speed cameras on behalf of gardaí.

According to company filings, it was recorded as having a 16pc shareholding in the consortium.

Its partners, Irish firm McAuliffe Investments Ltd and French company Egis Projects, were each recorded as holding a 42pc stake.

The contract is up for renewal shortly with tenders due to be submitted by February 25.

The new contract is expected to be worth around €13m a year and will last for six years.

There is no suggestion of any impropriety by Redflex in Ireland.

When contacted, a GoSafe representative refused to take any questions.

He said employees were not permitted to speak to the media and that queries should be directed to the Garda Press Office.

There was no immediate response to queries sent to the Garda Press Office.

No comment was forthcoming from Redflex's Australian headquarters.

Mr Bills is due to be sentenced in May and faces up to 20 years in prison.

The main witness against him was the former CEO of Redflex's US operation, Karen Finley. She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, but has yet to be sentenced.

Irish Independent

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