29 September 2016

Bribery Act: Global impact of the latest UK update

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has recently obtained a second Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in its fight against global bribery and corruption.

A DPA is a law enforcement tool; it is a Court-approved declaration by which a company which is facing prosecution reaches an agreement with the prosecutor to have the prosecution suspended providing it (the company) meets specific condition. Regularly used for many years in the USA and other jurisdictions, it is relatively unfamiliar in the UK.

The DPA recently obtained by the SFO concerns a UK SME (anonymously referred to as ‘XYZ’ in Court proceedings), who was acquired by a US company in February 2000. Despite the US parent company seeking to provide compliance improvements for the UK SME following its acquisition, as well as implementing a global compliance programme, XYZ conducted a sustained period of offers and payments made to secure contracts in jurisdictions outside the UK, both before and after the implementation of the Bribery Act 2010.

XYZ’s infringing activities were brought to light in August 2012, following which the company instigated a series of self-reports to the SFO. The SFO conducted a two-year investigation of the matter.

Under the terms of the DPA, the SFO imposed financial penalties to XYZ, which were calculated, not only in the light of the company’s financial situation, but also of its efforts in cooperating with the SFO, as well as of the exemplary behaviour of the US parent company.

Fuller details about this case can be found in an article written by Emma Roe, partner and member of the commercial, IP and regulatory team at Shulmans LLP.

If you would like some assistance in considering the steps your business should be taking to manage its compliance with the UK’s Bribery Act 2010, please contact Emma Roe at eroe@shulmans.co.uk or on 0113 288 2817.