Countries all over the world are bringing in legislation to make bribery a criminal offence. The Bribery Act 2010 replaced laws that date from 1889 to 1916 making it the first new anti-bribery law in the UK in a hundred years. Possibly the best known case is FIFA which suffered untold damage to its reputation.
More recently, Braid Logistics, based in Glasgow, discovered ‘potentially dishonest activities’ which were connected to freight –forwarding contracts in 2012. An investigation by the company found breaches of the Bribery Act 2010 and they self-reported the case to the Crown Office. Braid sacked those involved. The company was commended by the (Crown Office) Civil Recovery Unit for its cooperation in self-reporting but they still suffered a £2.2m penalty for the activity.
Directors of a company can be potentially liable even if they were unaware that bribes were being paid and senior company officers who turned a blind eye are much more culpable. Fines are potentially unlimited and custodial sentences, served by individual directors, can be up to ten years.
"Businesses should protect themselves by having policies in place and training employees in its requirements. Keep records of training and any relevant actions taken. We are able to help you formulate your policies and advise if your current policy is adequate and watertight" advises Commercial Solicitor Matthew Fretten.
Our Commercial Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Matthew or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.