Faced with international criticism, the UK has stepped up efforts to clampdown on companies that pay bribes both here and abroad. Bribery and corruption is high on the agenda of governments around the world, and greater collaboration between enforcement agencies and the global reach anti-corruption legislation has seen individuals and corporates increasingly caught up in multi-national investigations.
Regulators and enforcement agencies including the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the National Crime Agency (NCA) and City of London Police have the powers to launch criminal prosecutions against businesses and directors suspected of bribery and corruption.
Penalties for those paying bribes directly or indirectly include multi-million-pound fines and up to 10 years imprisonment.
Reputational damage is also significant with penalties including mandatory bans on tendering for public procurement projects in the EU, confiscation of proceeds and blacklisting by the World Bank.
The Bribery Act 2010 also created a new offence of ‘failing to prevent bribery’, and companies are also now liable for the actions of their employees, agents and subsidiaries.
Our bribery and corruption investigations lawyers have successfully defended clients in some of the most high-profile international bribery and corruption cases.
If you or your business is facing investigation for alleged corruption or you suspect employees or agents have been paying bribes on behalf of your company, our lawyers will act quickly to conduct internal investigations and help mitigate the risk of criminal proceedings. A swift response and skilled intelligent communication with investigating authorities is vital to protect businesses and reputations.
The global nature of investigations means we regularly advise on cross border and multi-jurisdictional investigations involving agencies such as the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).
How we can help
Following the US model, the SFO has the power to incentivise companies and organisations to self-report corruption and assist its investigations by offering a possible civil settlement through a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA).
We are experts in negotiating civil settlements and our experience of cross-border investigations and dealing with regulators and enforcement agencies means we have the credibility to negotiate on your behalf and achieve a commercially favourable settlement.
For those cases that proceed to the criminal courts, our track record of defending directors and organisations accused of corruption in some of the UK’s biggest cases is second to none.
- Advised three senior personnel in the SFO investigation into corruption at Rolls Royce. This was a worldwide investigation and added complexity resulted from convictions in the US of former employees and a DPA being reached with the group. No proceedings were brought against our clients
- Advised a director in relation to the worldwide SFO investigation into the alleged corrupt activities at Una Oil, a Monaco-based advisory company involved in the oil and gas sector. The investigation has recently concluded with no further action taken against our client. Other individuals in connection with the wider allegations have been charged and convicted
- Acted for a company director which was a niche provider of temporary construction units used in the Middle East for workers in the oil fields. The SFO investigated alleged corruption involving companies in the Middle East and Far East through third party agents, no charges were brought against our client
- Acted for a Middle East-based director in the BAE Systems-Saudi international corruption case. The investigation eventually ended in controversial circumstances after the Saudi government proposed action that was deemed to put UK national security at risk
- Acted for a senior director in an investigation brought by the SFO into alleged corruption concerning Balfour Beatty. Represented the individual throughout the investigation including disclosure requests and suspect interviews, securing no further action
- Acted for senior manager in the Innospec corruption case brought by the SFO. Advised throughout the investigation, securing no further action against the client
- Advised a group of shareholders in the ‘bridges to nowhere’ Mabey Johnson international corruption case. Liaised with regulators, legal teams and other stakeholders advising shareholders on various aspects including ‘waiver of legal privilege’ money laundering legislation and obligation of duties of disclosure
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