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International

Opinion: DPA’s must show greater benefits. We discuss the Criteria & Process for a DPA set out in Alun Milford’s (SFO GC) recent speech

In the second of our series we have extracted segments from the recent speech by Alun Milford the General Counsel of the SFO to an audience of compliance professionals where he dealt with DPA's. Mr Milford said: The timetable for considering a DPA "...towards the end of the investigation that we will decide how to deal with a corporate. If we judge that there is insufficient evidence against it, then that is the end of the matter so far as the corporate is concerned. Equally, if we consider we have sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and the public interest warrants the corporate’s prosecution, we will prosecute. But if we think the public interest might not require a prosecution then we will consider a DPA." The process for a DPA "The mechanics of this are, I think, well understood. The SFO, not the suspect company, can invite DPA negotiations. If the company takes up the offer, we ...

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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

All that glitters is not gold. Sweett & Smith & Ouzman sentences throw into sharp relief benefit of DPA deals

As we previously reported on 18 December 2015 Sweett Group plc pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 7(1) of the UK Bribery Act 2010 (failing to prevent an associated person bribing another to obtain or retain business for the company).* Sweett has now been sentenced resulting in a headline penalty of £2.25 million.  But focusing on the headline number misses some important underlying principles. Background The SFO commenced an investigation into Sweett Group in July 2014 in relation to its activities in the UAE and elsewhere. In the course of the company's own subsequent investigations, two contracts within the Middle East, unrelated to the original allegations, were identified as suspicious and were duly reported to the SFO in December 2014. The charge related to a sub-consultancy contract with North Property Management ("NPM") signed in 2013 through which Sweett Group's subsidiary in the UAE, Cyril Sweett International Limited ("CSIL"), paid a bribe (in the ...

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Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime

Civil Settlement for Scottish Company which self-reported violations of Section 1 & Section 7 of the Bribery Act highlights difference of approach North of the Border

The Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service, Scotland's Prosecution Service, recently announced the Civil Settlement of violations of the Bribery Act under Sections 1, and 7 of the Bribery Act by a corporate.  We have extracted the press release put out by COPFS below. Scotland has a separate legal system to England and Wales and the Deferred Prosecution Agreement regime does not operate in Scotland. As a result, Civil Recoveries remain the only option for Scottish prosecutors to resolve bribery cases (short of prosecution). In contrast in England & Wales Deferred Prosecutions Agreements have effectively displaced the use of Civil Recovery Orders to resolve bribery cases short of prosecution. The SFO has taken an increasingly hard line on enforcement and resolution. This latest Scottish case is notable as it is the first case where a corporate has settled and accepted responsibility for not only failing to prevent bribery under Section 7 but also ...

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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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