Catering firm finds 'irregularities' over UN contracts

Catering giant Compass today said an investigation had uncovered “serious irregularities” in the way United Nations contracts were awarded.

Compass Group, UK and Ireland is a £2.5bn (€3.7bn) turnover business, employing over 110,000 people. It is part of Compass Group PLC - the world's leading foodservice and hospitality organisation, which has an annual turnover of more than £12bn (€17.6bn) and operates in more than 90 countries.

A three-month probe ordered by Compass into the relationship between its Eurest Support Services (ESS) unit and the UN concluded that problems were limited to a few individuals.

Compass pledged to tighten its internal controls to ensure managers were supervised more closely and had less freedom to make decisions alone.

The investigation related to the way contracts were awarded to ESS by the UN, although no further details were given due to an ongoing criminal investigation in the United States.

Three managers were fired during the course of the inquiry by law firm Freshfields, but Compass said today that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing elsewhere in the group.

Steve Lucas, the chairman of the audit committee at Compass who oversaw the investigation, said: “This has been a highly regrettable episode for Compass Group.

“However, we have now concluded a very thorough investigation and taken appropriate and decisive action. We have no reason to believe that the issues extend to any other part of the group.”

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