Costas and Yiannakis Polycarpou ‘paid bribes of £90k to secure cash tsunami through Hackney Council work’

Southwark Crown Court in London. Picture: Yui Mok/PA

Southwark Crown Court in London. Picture: Yui Mok/PA - Credit: Yui Mok/PA

A son “went willingly” along with a scheme which had the potential to release a “tsunami of cash” to him and his father, as they ‘bribed their way’ to land Hackney Council fire safety equipment deals, a court has heard.

Costas Polycarpou, 41, and his father Yiannakis, 64, allegedly paid £89,367 in 2012 and 2013 to secure contracts to install emergency lighting and alarms.

Prosecutor John Hardy told jurors at Southwark Crown Court they funnelled the money through a "sham" consultancy company to two council subcontractors to "keep them sweet". Maintenance firm Lakehouse was contracted to upgrade fire safety measures in Hackney, and the Polycarpou's company, Polyteck, is said to have then received subcontracted work.

According to Mr Hardy, the pair paid bribes to two people to "maintain a business relationship to their mutual advantage".

"Outsourcing of contracts for public works has become a common practice, irrespective of its merits, and as a policy it can potentially be a fertile ground for corrupt practices, and those who engage in them seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers and the public in general," said Mr Hardy, "As well as at the expense of those who bid for contracts at a competitive price, but do not tarnish their bids, or their reputations, by paying 'sweeteners', or 'kick backs' to public officials. We say this case involves this kind of offending."

Costas is accused of sending an email in which he says the scheme could bring a "tsunami of cash".

Yannakis explained the payments in a prepared statement, claiming five payments from 2012 totalling £10,710.34 were for consultancy advice on how to boost his firm from a tier 2 to a tier 1 subcontractor. He bought a house in Chingford to rent to one of the contractors, whose partner paid him £100,000 for a 10-year lease. Payments of nearly £70,000 made by Polytech and Costas' own bank account to the firm in question were for "building and refurbishment works". Mr Hardy questioned why Yiannakis would pay another building firm to renovate his house, when he owned his own building firm.

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Costas, from Hadley Wood in Barnet and Yiannakis of Edgware, both deny bribery.