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Palaces & Buildings

Royal property manager guilty of taking bribes

Ronald Harper, a former deputy property manager for the British Royal household has been found guilty of corruption.

Harper was convicted of conspiracy to make corrupt payments over building work contracts at Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace. In his duties, he had an annual budget of 2.3 million pounds of which he could authorise orders up to £30,000.

The Southwark Crown Court came to the guilty verdict over the £70,000 covert payments Harper took from companies which were in return given contacts for electrical and mechanical work in Kensington Palace, St James’ Palace, and Buckingham Palace. The payments were also linked to the companies receiving a Royal Warrant. 

Luke Bulpitt, Specialist Prosecutor in CPS Special Crime Division, released a statement saying: “Ronald Harper abused his position of trust for his own personal gain and to the detriment of the interests of the Royal Household …,”

Prosecutor David Durose, said: “[Harper] received what were in effect bribes from companies with who he had dealings to show favour to them in the course of his employment.

“Some of the payments that he received as such bribes were disguised as being paid through the bank accounts of others.”

In addition to Harper, Christopher Murphy and Aseai Zlaoui were also found guilty of conspiracy to make corrupt payment. Steven Thompson and Glynn Orridge pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud.

The sentencing will now take place on 27 and 28 September. The former owners of Melton Power Services (MPS) provided Harper with corrupt payments between 2006 and 2011 in which Harper recommended MPS for a royal warrant, which they were rewarded.

From 2003 to 2012, MPS received multiple contracts from the Royal Household coming to a total of £569,000, although not all of these contracts are believed to have been corruptly awarded.

The work came from taxpayers’ pockets as it was funded by the Civil List, now called the Sovereign Grant.