News & what's on - Written by on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 14:16 - 0 Comments

MADNESS: 1/4 of Board Directors surveyed say they’d bribe to win business.

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Over recent months we have become concerned that in the absence of visible enforcement action around the Bribery Act complacency has set in.

An FTI survey confirms our suspicions – the survey last week reported that a quarter of Board Directors surveyed said that they would endorse (or worse) the payment of bribes to win business.

This is a shocking statistic.

It goes without saying, but we are going to say it anyway, that Directors who brazenly take this view (and plainly there are plenty who do) are playing with fire.

They risk personal criminal liability with lengthy prison sentences and confiscation of property under the UK’s draconian money laundering legislation.

It is no understatement to say that they risk ruining their futures.

We often find that the refrain of an individual swept up in a criminal investigation is the plea that ‘everyone else was doing it’.

Sadly this cuts no ice with a prosecutor.  Their response, ‘we’re not interested. This is about you.’

Jailing Julian Messent, a former director of London-based insurance business PWS International Ltd, to 21 months imprisonment for authorising corrupt payments (which totalled $1,982,230.77 to be paid to Costa Rican officials, their wives and associated companies) as inducements or rewards for assisting in the appointment or retention of PWS International Ltd the Hon. Recorder of Westminster, HHJ Rivlin QC, quoting Lord Justice Thomas (in the Innospec case) said:

“It is no mitigation to say others do it [pay bribes] or that it is the way of doing business…anyone minded to do it should be deterred from doing so”.

HHJ Rivlin has since retired.

He now works for the SFO.

Please don’t fall into the trap and become a scalp.

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