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Does your business comply with the Bribery Act 2010?

Does your business comply with the Bribery Act 2010? With investigations on the increase, businesses are advised to make sure sensible anti-corruption policies are in place.

It is five years since the Bribery Act 2010 was passed into law. Since then there have only been a handful of prosecutions, mostly under the remit of the Serious Fraud Office, but the pace of investigations has picked up over the last year.

In a recent case, two businessmen, Gary West and Stuart Stone, were found guilty of Bribery Act offences and given lengthy custodial sentences. The prosecution arose for their role in a £23m biofuel scam. The defendants submitted false invoices and used investors’ money to shop for luxury sports cars including Aston Martins and Bentleys.

Businesses should be mindful of the law and take a proportionate and common-sense approach to the design and implementation of anti-corruption policies and procedures within their own organisations.

The Act created criminal offences including:

  • Offering and receiving bribes
  • Failure to prevent a bribe being paid on behalf of a commercial organisation
  • Bribery of a foreign public official

Employers can be held responsible for acts of bribery committed by employees, agents and contractors. Therefore, it is important for a business to review its procedures to make sure preventative measures have been put into place. In the case of prosecution, a defence is available if ‘adequate procedures’ have been established. Here are some guidelines:

  • Conduct a risk assessment to identify where a risk of bribery may arise
  • Make a commitment at the highest level to establish an anti-corruption culture within the organisation
  • Appoint a senior officer to oversee and be responsible for the programme
  • Carry out a due diligence assessment for major new business developments
  • Ensure effective implementation through good communication of the policy to employees, agents and contractors.
  • Monitor and review the policy

For further information please contact Chris Wiper on 01325 466461 or email chris.wiper@close-thornton.co.uk

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