A Sainsbury's potato buyer who funded a millionaire's lifestyle by taking part in a scam that stole money from the supermarket giant has been jailed, along with a man from the Midlands and Cambridgeshire.
John Maylam, who was head buyer, led a life of "outrageous extravagance" by taking bribes from supplier Greenvale in return for lucrative contracts with the chain. He was jailed for four years.
The money laundering scheme he concocted with Greenvale accounts manager David Baxter, from Shropshire, saw Sainsbury's overcharged by nearly £9 million.
The surplus was then put in a bank account for "frivolous spending" including on a luxury trip to Monaco, lengthy stays at top hotels including Claridge's, a £94,000 Aston Martin and restaurants that could feature on a "gourmand's tour of London".
Maylam incurred expenses of £20,000 a month and was handed brown envelopes stuffed with cash, with one lump sum given to him via a Luxembourg account to the tune of £1.5 million.
Payments were authorised by Greenvale's then finance director Andrew Behagg. The three men, all of previous good character and long-standing employees of their firms, are now starting jail terms after being sentenced at Croydon Crown Court in south London.
Judge Nicholas Ainley said it was "very nearly as serious a case of corruption as I can imagine" that involved Sainsbury's "being bribed with its own money".
Maylam, 45, of Bearsted, Maidstone, Kent, admitted corruption and acquiring criminal property at a court hearing last year. Baxter, 50, of Hinstock, near Market Drayton in Shropshire, was jailed for 30 months after admitting the same charges.
Behagg, a 60-year-old grandfather from Chatteris in Cambridgeshire, was found guilty of corruption by authorising payments to Maylam following a trial. He was jailed for three years.
A Sainsbury's spokeswoman said: "This was an unacceptable and calculated crime against Sainsbury's and we are pleased that justice has been done. Today's sentencing sends a very clear message to anyone that behaves in this way that there are consequences to their actions."