US official found guilty in Aus company bribery scandal

A former official from the Chicago Department of Transport has been found guilty of accepting bribes from Australian red-light camera manufacturer Redflex.

AAP reports that John Bills, 54, was convicted on Tuesday (Chicago time) of 20 counts, including fraud, extortion, bribery and filing false tax returns.

Bills accepted $US2 million ($A2.85 million) in bribes from Redflex and, in return, helped the company win contracts to install almost 400 red-light cameras in the Chicago, a city which now has more such cameras than any other US city.

The company’s former chief executive of Redflex's North American operations Karen Finley previously pleaded guilty to paying the bribes to Bills. Finley, who will be sentenced next month, was the prosecutor’s star witness in the court.

According to AAP, Bills gave the committees awarding red-light contracts clear shots taken by Redflex cameras but poor quality shots taken by competitors’ cameras.

"John is going to continue to fight for his innocence," his attorney, Nishay Sanan, said. "The fight is not over. The people who are guilty of this know who they are, (but) we don't expect them to come forward."

Sanan told jurors that “lobbyists” funnelled the money to elected officials.

Image: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

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