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EXCLUSIVE: British seismologist and accountant are charged with bribing South Korean earthquake boss

'BRIBES' Dr Cansun Guralp (left) and Andrew Bell

A BRITISH scientist and a chartered accountant have been accused of conspiring to bribe the director of South Korea’s Earthquake Research Center into giving them contracts over more than 13 years.

Seismologist Dr Cansun Guralp, 66, and accountant Andrew Bell, 56, are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court tomorrow after being charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) with conspiracy to make corrupt payments to Chi Heon-cheol.

The case centres around claims Guralp, from Silchester, near Reading, Berkshire, and Bell, from Whitchurch, Shropshire, sought preferential treatment for their company Güralp Systems Limited from Mr Chi, 60, who no longer holds senior top civil service role in South Korea.

DIRECTOR: Chi Heon-cheol talks earthquakes in a YouTube video

Güralp Systems, based in Reading, is an engineering company specialising in the production of seismic testing equipment.

Guralp, the firm's founder, who no longer works for the company, and Bell, its former managing director have both been charged with conspiracy to make corrupt payments contrary to Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

The SFO has been investigating the company for more than two years, but had yet to announce it.

An SFO spokesman said: "The SFO alleges that the two men conspired to corruptly make payments to a public official and employee of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources.

"The announced charges come after a criminal investigation by the SFO into conduct at Güralp Systems that began on 3rd December 2015."

The alleged criminal activity occurred between April 2002 and September 2015.

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