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Former tech CIO jailed for setting up £475k backhander scam with IT outsourcing firm

One-time head of Hampshire Police IT gets six years

A pro-outsourcing CIO whose first act at a new employer was to set up a £475,000 backhander scheme has been jailed for six years.

Brian Chant, 62, took the bribes after joining procurement services firm Achilles in 2011, Southwark Crown Court heard.

One of the first things he did was recommend outsourcing of various IT functions, suggesting three companies to Achilles' board for the £22m SPTL and Systems Plus IT contracts.

Unknown to Achilles was the fact that Chant, of Andover in Hampshire, had quietly approached the eventual winner beforehand to hand-hold them through the procurement process – and to arrange a hefty secret margin straight into his wallet.

Sentencing at Southwark Crown Court this week, Her Honour Judge Sally Cahill QC told Chant: "This offending involved you, as Chief Information Officer in the company, set up a scheme where you introduced a potential contractor to that company and you set up an agreement with that contractor where you received 25 per cent of the profit they made off your employer Achilles."

The CourtNewsUK news agency reported that Chant's bosses at Achilles had "placed their trust" in the exec. Despite his £150,000 salary from Achilles, the CIO's greed saw him cream off an extra £474,069.60 via his outsourcing mates, described by the City of London police as a "series of payments... made to him by the IT company."

Eventually Chant was dismissed from his role in 2013 after what City of London police described in a statement as "the difficulty around migrating a major customer to [Achilles'] new platform."

Those problems saw a director of the outsourced IT firm being put in charge of the client relationship – who then reported "issues with the CIO's management" back to Achilles.

Chant then joined Hampshire Police as its (contracted) head of IT in October 2014 – a post he held until his arrest for the Achilles fraud in 2016. A LinkedIn profile in his name claims he held developed vetting clearance at the time; DV is one of the highest levels of security clearance within the British government.

"It has been very stressful, I am innocent," Chant told the Southern Daily Echo at the time of his arrest. "I will always have a bad mark against me."

A parallel HMRC investigation saw the unnamed IT contractor firm's VAT invoices being closely scrutinised after it tried to reclaim VAT from the CIO's business Chant Consulting Ltd.

"A review of email exchanges between Chant and the IT company confirmed suspicions that he had plotted to secure the IT company's contract," said City of London police.

Chant seems to have fallen for the same tell that saw NHS IT fraudster Barry Stannard jailed last summer for a broadly similar scam. In both cases HMRC smelled a rat over VAT invoices and began deeper investigations.

Chant was convicted by a jury of receiving a bribe, false accounting and money laundering, having claimed they were legitimate payments for consultancy work. He was jailed for six years and disqualified from acting as a company director for three years. Prosecutors will now pursue him for the £475,000 in confiscation proceedings, the court heard. ®

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