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International

Bribery is “less easily dismissed as a US fetish”: I ask Trace some questions on the publication of the Trace Matrix

Last week during the FCPA conference in Washington, Trace published its 2016 update to its Trace Matrix.  Trace says that "The TRACE Matrix® measures business bribery risk in 199 countries. The overall country risk score is a combined and weighted score of four domains – Business Interactions with the Government, Anti-bribery Laws and Enforcement, Government and Civil Service Transparency and Capacity for Civil Society Oversight". I took the opportunity on the publication of the Trace Matrix to ask Trace some questions; here is what they told me: Overall does Trace see the global compliance picture improving since the last survey? It’s difficult to draw global inferences from the Matrix, but the numbers show the Americas, Africa, and East Asia all slipping a bit, while Oceania makes noticeable improvement, and the bribery landscape stays roughly the same in Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.  Anecdotally, we know that awareness of the damage bribery does is growing.   Very few people just roll their ...

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Sectors

Significant jail term in Edinburgh construction works bribery case

By Tom Stocker, Partner, Corporate Crime & Investigations, Pinsent Masons LLP Yesterday, two former employees of Edinburgh Council and two directors of a construction company received significant jail sentences for bribery contrary to The Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889 (the legislation that pre-dates the Bribery Act 2010). The council employees helped award contracts to Edinburgh Action Building Contracts Ltd (ABC Ltd) and in return they received extensive hospitality including corporate seats at Hibs and Hearts football grounds, meals out and visits to lap dancing bars as well as cash.  Invoices were then inflated to cover the cost of the hospitality. The charges related to the maintenance of council buildings from 2006 to 2010. Council worker Charles Owenson was sentenced to 4 years and 4 months for accepting bribes. The sentencing Sheriff considered that, despite Mr Owenson's guilty plea, the plea-in-mitigation put forward on his behalf  demonstrated that Mr Owenson had not accepted ...

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News & what’s on

At her Majesty’s pleasure. A right royal bribery scheme ends in convictions and prison “for quite a long time…”.

By Jennifer Burton, Solicitor, Pinsent Masons LLP It has recently been revealed that Ronald Harper, a former Deputy Property Manager in the British Royal Household has been found guilty of conspiracy in relation to the receipt of over £70,000 in corrupt payments from companies which were awarded lucrative Palace contracts for mechanical and electrical work. Harper's conviction follows two trials that took place at Southwark Crown Court in relation to payments made by the former owners of companies Melton Power Services Ltd (MPS) and BSI Nordale Ltd (BSI Nordale) to Harper. The directors of BSI Nordale, Christopher Murphy and Aseai Zlaoui, were also convicted of conspiracy to make corrupt payments to Harper. Former director of MPS, Stephen Thompson and Glyn Orridge, a subcontractor of MPS, had pleaded guilty to corruption charges at an earlier hearing. According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Harper worked with an annual budget of £2.3m, and was able to ...

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Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime

Opinion: As Rolls resolution confirms DPA’s on the menu without Self Report we argue (again) for bigger discounts for companies who Self Report.

Rolls Royce DPA with the SFO is the right result. Rolls can draw a line under the matter and move on.  The SFO can be applauded for what is a very significant enforcement resolution in its favour. The SFO Press Release records serious misconduct, namely,  "...12 counts of conspiracy to corrupt, false accounting and failure to prevent bribery.... three decades and involves Rolls-Royce’s Civil Aerospace and Defence Aerospace businesses and its former Energy business and relates to the sale of aero engines, energy systems and related services. The conduct covered by the UK DPA took place across seven jurisdictions: Indonesia, Thailand, India, Russia, Nigeria, China and Malaysia." In his judgment Sir Brian Leveson recorded: "My reaction when first considering these papers was that if Rolls-Royce were not to be prosecuted in the context of such egregious criminality over decades, involving countries around the world, making truly vast corrupt payments and, consequentially, even greater profits, ...

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Your Questions: Answered

My company has entered into contracts with FIFA. Should I be doing anything?

Question My company has entered into various contracts over the years with FIFA.  I read with alarm last week the news stories about the arrests of FIFA officials in Switzerland. The US has signalled more arrests are likely and the Swiss prosecutor is also investigating. Should I be worried that my business may be drawn into the FIFA investigation and should I be doing anything now? Yours, Anon. The short answer Expect more revelations.  So far the enforcement action in the public domain focusses on the alleged bribe recipients – expect the suspected bribe payers to be targeted next and under the full glare of publicity. A head in the sand approach is never the best option. Businesses who have negotiated licencing deals etc. with FIFA would be well advised to run some basic checks (speak to a lawyer before you do to make sure the checks don’t create legal problems) to confirm their deals are not tainted. The longer ...

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