Adequate Procedures, Corporate hospitality - Written by Barry & Richard on Sunday, July 10, 2011 11:46 - 1 Comment
EXCLUSIVE: Corporate hospitality – The SFO’s five factors
In spite of numerous assurances in the Guidance published by the Ministry of Justice, from the Minister of Justice himself and from the SFO – the questions about corporate hospitality and the Bribery Act keep coming.
Sky News recently reported that there is concern that corporate hospitality around the Olympics could be construed as bribery.
In response to these continuing uncertainties the SFO have told us that they will be looking at five factors when considering corporate hospitality in the context of the Bribery Act.
The SFO’s five factors
Here is what the SFO have said:
Where the SFO is considering whether any particular case of corporate expenditure appears to fall outside the bounds of reasonable and proportionate hospitality, it will be looking to see whether:
1. the company has a clear issued policy regarding gifts and hospitality,
2. the scale of the expenditure in question fell within the confines of such policy and if not, whether special permission for it had been sought at a high level within the organisation,
3. the expenditure was proportionate with regard to the recipient,
4. there is evidence that such expenditure had been recorded by the Company,
5. the recipient was entitled to receive the hospitality under the law of the recipient’s country.
The inference that the expenditure was intended as a bribe would be strengthened if it should transpire
(a) that there had been any unjustifiable ‘add-ons’, for example with regard to travel or accommodation, or
(b) that that the expenditure in question could be related in time to some actual or anticipated business with the recipient, particularly in a competitive context.