Two directors at a UK printing company have been sentenced and fined following a Serious Fraud Office investigation into corrupt payments, which were made in return for the award of contracts to the company.
The first director has been sentenced to eighteen months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, whilst the second has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment – both for corruptly agreeing to make payments. Both directors have also been disqualified from acting as company directors for six years.
As a result of the two directors’ corruption, the printing company has been fined £1,316,799 for corruption and has also been ordered to pay £881,158 in confiscation fees and £25,000 prosecution costs.
What is bribery?
Bribery is “The offering, promising, giving, accepting or soliciting of an advantage as an inducement for an action which is illegal or a breach of trust.”
What is considered a bribery offence? (Under the Bribery Act 2010):
Bribing another person
When a financial or other advantage is offered, promised or given to another person, either by the person committing bribery or a third party.
A person is guilty of receiving a bribe if they request, agree to, receive or accept a financial (or other) advantage in return for performing a function or activity improperly.
Failing to prevent bribery
A commercial organisation can be guilty of this offence if a person that is associated with the organisation bribes another person, to gain a business advantage for the organisation, whether in the UK or overseas.
Bribing a foreign public official
A person is guilty of bribery if they intend to offer, promise or give a bribe in order to influence an official in their capacity as a foreign public official.
What are the penalties for bribery?
As demonstrated in the case of the printing company, bribing another person or being bribed can be punishable by unlimited fines and imprisonment of up to ten years. In addition to these penalties, businesses could also find that they are then permanently debarred from tendering for public sector contracts.
Policies and procedures
To be safe in the knowledge that you, your company or any of your employees are not committing bribery offences, review (or create) policies and procedures for dealing with anti-corruption and carry out background checks when dealing with third parties. If you are at all unsure about either of these things, contact a lawyer who will be able to advise you.
Advice about bribery
For advice relating to the Bribery Act 2010 and how it can affect you and your business, contact our specialist teams of corporate and employment lawyers using the telephone numbers below. Bray & Bray have three main offices across Leicestershire, feel free to phone or pop in to talk to our solicitors.
Leicester 0116 254 8871
Hinckley 01455 639 900
Market Harborough 01858 467 181