We work closely with our clients to understand their individual commercial contexts to best advise on the appropriate solutions for their needs. We regularly assist clients on how to avoid committing an offence and provide regular training to all staff to mitigate any future breaches.
We are also well adept at defending them against prosecution for failure to prevent bribery when the need arises.
Anti-Bribery and Corruption
Our experience of dealing with investigative agencies across the world ensures that an informed and tailored approach to each client is provided in every case. Should any issues of extradition arise, then further advice can be provided.
In circumstances where companies find themselves subject to dawn raids, we offer expert advice during these stressful times and advise as to any interviews that might also be conducted.
What is the Bribery Act 2010?
The Bribery Act 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that covers the criminal law relating to bribery.
It imposes strict obligations on businesses at risk of bribery to implement preventative procedures. It also provides for harsh penalties to be handed out for non-compliance, including imprisonment of up to ten years, an unlimited fine, and an EU-wide ban on tendering for public work.
Should I be concerned?
The short answer: yes.
The jurisdiction covered by the Act is extremely wide. Any person, including any company, can be prosecuted for their acts or omissions that took place in the UK, or even if they have a “close connection” with the UK.
Whilst bribery and corruption allegations can be wholly centred within the UK, it is perhaps more likely that allegations will span multiple jurisdictions, depending on the geographic area where the business has been conducted. As a result, international investigative agencies are increasingly involved in proceedings.
Constantly evolving, the Act created Section 7, the offence of failure to prevent bribery, which imposes quasi-strict liability on businesses. This means that, if someone associated with a business – such as an employee or agent – commits a bribery offence, the business itself may be criminally liable even if it was unaware of the offending behaviour.
The territorial scope of the “failure to prevent” offence is especially wide – there is no restriction regarding the jurisdiction where the business is incorporated, nor the place of residence of the associated person, nor where the alleged bribery took place. Therefore, if a company carries on business in any part of the UK, it must be alert to the risk of prosecution under Section 7.
How can I be compliant?
To comply with this regime, businesses must understand their obligations and ensure they have the relevant systems in place to spot any potential incidents of bribery. We would also recommend regular training for your staff to ensure they stay abreast of the constantly changing rules and guidance.
Other legislative and regulatory frameworks also need to be considered, which may lead to specific potential issues, such as the FCA reporting requirements. You would therefore be well advised to have comprehensive compliance procedures in place.
for more information about us and our Criminal Litigation, Investigations and Regulatory services, please contact a member of the team who will be able to assist.