The Corruption and Bribery landscape has changed dramatically in recent years following the Bribery Act 2010 which came into force in 2011. The legislation followed international pressure on the UK and other countries to introduce tougher laws. An allegation of bribery or corruption can have an extremely damaging effect upon a company or individual and our specialists have extensive experience in defending allegations of corruption, bribery and serious fraud.
The Serious Fraud Office places great emphasis upon fighting bribery and corruption, seeking to incentivise organisations to self-report thereby avoiding the consequences flowing from a criminal conviction.
More recently the Bribery Act has been used by the City of London Police Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED). IFED is a specialist department set up to tackle insurance fraud and funded by the insurance industry.
Companies need to ensure that they have adequate anti-bribery measures in place, so as to prevent an act of bribery being committed on behalf of the company and afford the organisation a defence.
Bribery Act Offences
Provisions of the Bribery Act impact on businesses large and small and cover the following offences:
- Failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery is an offence committed by a business unless it can show that it had “adequate procedures” in place to prevent this conduct. Without anti-corruption measures in place a commercial organisation can be guilty of an offence committed without the knowledge in those involved in the management of the business.
- Prosecution of Senior Officers of a company can take place in circumstances where an offence of bribery took place with the involvement of a Senior Officer.
- Bribery of Foreign Public Officials relates to where the payer intends to influence a foreign public official with a view to gaining or retaining business.
- Corporate Hospitality can also be a risky area and the level of appropriate corporate hospitality always needs to be considered so as to avoid falling foul of the legislation.
- Facilitation Payments may be demanded by officials to expedite performance of roles and duties such as the issuing of permits or speeding up of shipments. Where these payments are made risk of criminal prosecution arises.
The Serious Fraud Office
The Serious Fraud Office has committed significant resources to bribery and corruption and bodies who believe persons associated with them have been involved in offences of bribery and corruption may consider “self-reporting” with the aim of negotiating a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA). The SFO may issue Section 2 notices under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 requiring individuals or businesses to deliver documentation to the SFO or attend a compulsory interview.
The nature of a bribery investigation could mean that companies and individuals are attended upon without notice by the investigating authorities. Olliers have extensive experience of dealing with so-called dawn raids.
Director Matthew Claughton has extensive experience of defending all forms of all allegations of fraud. Matthew has written a number of articles on the Bribery Act some of which can be accessed below.
- Bribery Act 2010 – Preventing Bribery in the Workplace
- Bribery Act 2010 – Is Your Business At Risk?
- Bribery Act 2010 – Adequate Anti Bribery Procedures Must Be In Place By July 2011
Contact a Corruption and Bribery Lawyer (London & Manchester)
If you need to discuss any allegation of corruption or bribery or require assistance with an anti-bribery strategy, contact Matthew Claughton by email at email@example.com or call 0161 827 7010.