x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Hotel chain chief gets jail for bribery

The chief executive of a hotel chain has been sentenced to jail for revealing company secrets and demanding a bribe.

DUBAI // The chief executive of a hotel chain due to open a large suites hotel in Media City next year has been sentenced to jail for revealing company secrets and demanding a bribe. TG, 48, the chief executive of Bavaria Hotels International, was yesterday sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to repay Dh385,000 (US$105,000) after he was found guilty of asking for a bribe to award a Dh5.5m contract to the Irish company Lissadell to provide bedding and towels.

According to prosecution documents, TG contacted the owner of Lissadell and persuaded him to pay seven per cent of the tender value in exchange for the contract. The financial manager of Bavaria Hotels, AK, told prosecutors he was subsequently contacted by the Lissadell sales manager in the UAE who said the defendant had shown him the contesting tender prices, violating company secrecy laws. The defendant told Lissadell's management he was the person who had the power to assign the tender, AK said. "I informed the Lissadell sales manager that this was untrue," AK told prosecutors. "His position was only to test and evaluate the products - and refer back to us with the results."

In his defence, TG claimed the complaint filed against him was a matter of "settling scores" between the owner of Lissadell and himself. Free on bail, TG was not present in court yesterday. But before he can lodge an appeal, he must present himself to judicial officers and pay the Dh385,000. Any appeal must be lodged within 15 days. Bavaria is due to open a 2,100-suite property in Media City next year, reportedly the largest all-suite hotel in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. It has characterised the dispute as one among shareholders of the Dubai hotel, saying yesterday it had "no affiliation or connection" to the project. It acknowledged, however, that TG was the chief executive and a shareholder in the hotel.

In September, the chain said in a press release: "Bavaria Hotels is confident that the misconceptions and false interpretations in this regard will shortly be brought to light and that [TG] will be cleared of any wrongdoings and a shareholder settlement will be reached." @Email:amustafa@thenational.ae rbundhun@thenational.ae