BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
The Bribery Act came into effect in July 2011. It is a far-reaching piece of legislation that covers the activities of UK companies and individuals all over the world.
Agencies in the UK are cooperating far more with investigating and prosecuting agencies internationally and feel that they have an Act with real teeth.
Bribery is the offering or giving of any benefits such as cash or gifts to any public servant or office holder or to a director or employee of a private business in order to induce that person to give inappropriate help in breach of their duty to the organisation which has employed or appointed them. This duty extends to acts of bribery which occur overseas under the Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001. In addition the Serious Fraud Office has powers to compel companies to handover documents.
It is essential that organizations have in place adequate procedures designed to prevent those associated with it from undertaking bribery.
It applies to all UK-based organisations and individuals. But it also covers activities carried out anywhere in the world by them, agents acting for them, their trading partners and anyone else with an established connection to them.
The Act can make a firm’s senior staff personally liable for the bribery if they knew about it. Penalties can include jail sentences of up to 10 years, unlimited fines, seizure of assets and debarment from winning public contracts. Punishments will be heaviest if the bribery is either repeated or premeditated.
Prevention is better than cure. Our longstanding expertise in dealing with complex fraud cases involving corruption and bribery pre-dates the current Act and ensures that we are ideally placed to defend any allegations of bribery. However the creation of a bespoke anti-bribery policy or an anti corruption code of conduct within your organisation may help show that you have taken “adequate measures” to prevent bribery.
The Ministry of justice has published guidance in relation to the six principles that should be followed.
We can assist in the drafting of anti-bribery policies and reviewing your present procedures. Alternatively, if you find yourself the subject of an investigation then our Bribery and corruption team led by Rob Rode can assist.
We will tailor a team to work with you and expert external barristers to provide you the best form of defence.
Rob Rode is the International Advisory Experts Awards 2017 Criminal Law Lawyer of the year in England.