Money laundering - Written by on Thursday, March 24, 2011 0:27 - 0 Comments

Bribery & money laundering – a potent cocktail & a warning to directors

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The penny must drop soon. Last week Richard Alderman again threatened the use of UK money laundering laws in the context of Bribery offences.

Directors on the hook

Speaking about Section 14 of the Bribery Act and the criminal obligations imposed on Senior Officers including non-executive directors he highlighted that they will be guilty of an offence if they consent to or connive in bribery.

Highlighting concerns of non executive directors who are asking about their own exposure to this legislation, he said “if they are aware that there is bribery somewhere within the company. The test is clear and there can be personal criminal liability if they do nothing about it.”

We have highlighted before that in order to convict a senior officer under the Bribery Act it will be necessary to prove that the directing mind of the corporate is also guilty of bribery under the existing test. While this is not a slam dunk directors should be cautious, as we have written before, they may still incur personal liability under the UK money laundering laws.

Money laundering on the menu

Speaking about the impact of UK money laundering laws he said: “My view is that it applies where a company discovers that there has been an act of corruption somewhere and as a result, for example, some advantage has been obtained or a contract entered into. The proceeds of the contract and the revenues would, in my view, in those circumstances be the proceeds of crime.

This is not an issue if the responsible directors of the company take the view that they should disclose this to the appropriate authorities in the UK if we have jurisdiction. There is, however, a problem for them if they decide not to do this. They can decide, for example, that it is best to keep the money within the company and not tell the authorities. This is very dangerous. They will be very ill advised to do this. The result would be, in my view, the commission of a money laundering offence with a maximum term of imprisonment of 14 years. What this means in effect is that something that was a corporate level issue has become a personal criminal issue. This I stress is wholly avoidable if the company and the directors take the right approach and comply with their obligations. If they do not, then they run into serious difficulty at the personal as well as the corporate level.”

We have written about the risks posed by UK money laundering legislation. Richard Alderman has told us that he intends to step up his use of them in the prosecution of corruption cases.

Anti-corruption laws and money laundering legislation are a potent cocktailA Slammer Royale maybe?

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