The Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into a construction consultant involved in major Scottish projects including Union Square and the Inverness Royal Academy.
Sweett Group – which provides quantity surveying and cost management services around the globe – helps deliver multimillion-pound buildings.
As well as Union Square, it has also been involved in the RGU campus at Garthdee in Aberdeen, Wick High School and the Aberdeen Community Healthcare Village.
But today the company has confirmed that it is the subject of a probe following allegations about “deception” in the Middle East.
It is alleged that a member of staff told an architect hoping to work on a hospital project that his company would have to pay 3.5% of the value of the contract to win it.
A spokesman for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) confirmed it was investigating Sweett “in relation to its activities in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere”.
In a statement to the stock market, Sweett also confirmed the probe.
“The SFO has now decided to exercise its statutory powers under the Criminal Justice Act to investigate this matter,” a spokesman said.
“Sweett Group continues to cooperate fully with the SFO on this matter.”
The firm added: “Sweett Group notified the SFO last year about an allegation of impropriety concerning the conduct of a former employee in 2010, which was reported in 2013.
“That former employee operated from an office in Dubai under contract with Cyril Sweett International Limited (CSI). CSI is a company registered in Cyprus and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sweett Group plc.
“Sweett Group initiated independent investigations of the allegation and has been keeping the SFO regularly informed as to the progress of those investigations.
“As was reported on April 2, 2014, evidence came to light that suggests that material instances of deception may have been perpetrated by a former employee or employees during the period 2009-2011.
“One of the former employees refused to answer questions asked of him by the independent investigators.”