News & what's on - Written by on Thursday, January 26, 2012 1:26 - 1 Comment

BREAKING: Four convicted for commercial (not government) bribery by SFO

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The SFO reported yesterday that four men have been found guilty in a £70 million private contracts corruption case for conspiracy to corrupt.

Make sure your systems & controls capture commercial bribery

There is a school of thought along the lines that the UK will focus on government bribery. As a result, the argument goes, corporations should focus their attention on systems and controls to deal with government bribery.

Note we said systems and controls and not adequate procedures – any such systems would plainly be inadequate procedures for Bribery Act purposes given the Bribery Act covers commercial and government bribery.

The old favourite ‘Consulting Services’

The bribery scheme involved corruptly obtaining payments by supplying confidential information about a series of high-value engineering projects in the oil and gas engineering industry.

The SFO press release states: “Amounting to around £70 million, the contracts affected were for engineering and procurement projects based in Iran, Egypt, Sakhalin Island (Russia), Singapore and Abu Dhabi, over the period 2001 to 2009….The confidential information supplied to bidders was held by companies acting as procurement agents for the projects. It is an industry where individuals who work for such companies often do so on a short term basis. Crucially, the defendants had access to inside information which they passed on to targeted bidding companies who either made, or agreed to make, corrupt payments for the information. Disguised as “consultancy services”, the illicit payments were shared out amongst the co-conspirators.”

Sentencing later this month

The convicted defendants, Andrew Rybak, Ronald Saunders, Philip Hammond and Barry Smith will be sentenced later this month on 30 January.

Their sentences are likely to be more illuminating in the context of prospective Bribery Act sentencing than the Munir Patel case.


We have written on numerous occasions that the UK prosecutors will not limit themselves to government bribery cases.

SFO Director Richard Alderman said, “Corruption in business life diminishes society. Today’s outcome makes it clear that it will not be tolerated. The investigation is an excellent example of collaboration between the City of London Police and the SFO. Each of us used our particular powers and skills, combined in a complex case with significant international links”

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Compliance Bits and Pieces | Compliance Building
Jan 27, 2012 6:02

[…] Four convicted for commercial (not government) bribery by SFO in […]

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