Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime - Written by Barry & Richard on Monday, December 5, 2011 15:25 - 1 Comment
Commercial bribery may not be on the agenda in the US – but is in the UK
There has been some speculation that the Bribery Act will, like the FCPA, only be used to target government bribery.
With a long history of bringing private bribery cases in the UK – assuming that the Bribery Act will only have practical application in government bribery cases is likely to be mistaken.
Earlier this year for example, it was reported that John Manning a solicitor and former senior partner of Manchester firm Fox Hayes,was charged with one offence of corruption contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
A Serious Fraud Office spokeswoman reportedly confirmed: “I can confirm that a 62 year old man was charged on August 18, by City of London Police following a joint investigation by the Serious Fraud Office with the City of London Police…The case relates to alleged offences connected to the sale of shares to UK investors.”
In another case being brought by the SFO five men were charged in relation to allegations that they were involved an energy corruption ring. The SFO press release reports:
“The prosecution has been brought following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in conjunction with the City of London Police into allegations that inside information was being offered to companies bidding for contracts in high-value engineering projects. Some of the defendants were employed by the companies responsible for the procurement of these projects and are alleged to have passed confidential information to others who then offered to provide it to companies bidding for the contracts in return for a percentage of the contract value. The aggregate value of the five contracts in question is £66 million and the charges relate to periods between 1 January 2001 and 31 August 2009.”
Last week Richard Alderman confirmed the SFO interest in commercial bribery cases. Speaking to the British Bankers Association he said:
“Another significant feature of the Bribery Act is the way that it applies to private sector bribery as well as public sector bribery. We are not just concerned with bribery of foreign public officials. We will also be looking at bribery within the private sector whether in the UK or abroad. This is already a feature of our work and I expect to see more cases.”
Commercial bribery on the agenda
As was highlighted in a recent post by Zoe Jacob of 6 Kings Bench Walk commercial bribery has long been a feature in UK corruption cases.
Cases of successful commercial (or private sector) cases include a procurement manager in a manufacturing company who was convicted of receiving £2,500 in cash and holidays (a 1982 case!) for choosing a supplier; a director who ordered low grade steel in exchange for having his house rewired and cash of £200k, a manager who renewed a series of contracts and subsequently received £32k and an engineering technician working for Mars who had received c.£500k over a lengthy period from an engineering and maintenance company.
Sentences ranged from 6 months to 6 and a half years.