Bribery & Compliance Advice
Many countries have now tightened the laws which prohibit bribery and corruption in many forms, but does your company have a clear anti-bribery and corruption program to manage the risks?
In a 2019 report, the World Economic Forum estimated that corruption, bribery, theft, tax evasion and other illicit financial flows cost developing countries US$1.26 trillion per year. The numbers are staggering, but it would be wrong to assume that corruption only affects developing countries. The same report also points out that as much as US$132 billion is lost to corruption every year among the EU member states, according to the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs. In the UK, the amount of money laundered is thought to be around £48 billion. Suffice to say, bribery and corruption can happen anywhere.
The UK Bribery Act 2010
Considering bribery and corruption is a global issue, the Bribery Act 2010 aims to update and enhance UK law on bribery including foreign bribery.
The definition of a bribe is a financial or an advantage offered, promised or given to induce a person to perform a relevant function or activity improperly, or to reward them for doing so.
The Act makes it a criminal offence to:
- offer promise or give a bribe or an advantage
- request, agree to receive or accept a bribe or an advantage
- bribe a foreign public official
- prevent a bribe being paid to obtain or retain business or a business advantage (by a company)
Preventing a bribe from happening is high on the agenda among business leaders, yet not everyone has a clear strategy to go about achieving it. Also, when you suspect your colleague has misconducted themselves, you may find yourself searching for an appropriate way to address the issue. If you are in this situation, give our team at Blackhawk Intelligence a call on +44 (0)20 8108 9317.
There are four areas we can help when it comes to anti-bribery practice. We can:
- Provide the necessary bribery prevention training to your staff
- Investigate any suspected bribery or corruption practice in your company
- Conduct due diligence before your company enters into a new partnership
- Conduct background checks on a person of interest
To enable your company to navigate the risks of bribery safely, the UK Government has published official guidance which companies can put into place to prevent bribery from committed. The guidance sets out six principles:
1. Proportionate procedures
The company should have procedures which are proportionate to the bribery risks the company faces and to the nature, scale and complexity of the company’s activities. The procedures should also be clear, practical, accessible, effectively implemented and enforced.
2. Top-level commitment
The top-level management should be committed to preventing bribery. They should also foster a culture within the organisation in which bribery is never acceptable.
3. Risk assessment
The company should assess the nature and extent of its exposure to potential external and internal risks of bribery. The assessment should be done periodically and documented accordingly.
4. Due diligence
The company should carry out due diligence in relation to individuals who perform (or will perform) services for or on behalf of the company. The purpose of due diligence is to mitigate identified bribery risks. For more information, follow the link to the article “Can your company benefit from deep-level due diligence?“.
5. Communication (including training)
The company should ensure that its bribery prevention policies and procedures are embedded and understood throughout the organisation. This is done through communication including training.
6. Monitoring and review
The company should monitor and review procedures designed to prevent bribery, as well as making improvements where necessary.
If a person is found guilty on summary conviction, they may face imprisonment up to 12 months and/or a fine. If they are found guilty on conviction on indictment, they may face imprisonment up to 10 years and/or a fine.
Mitigating the risk
All businesses, however large or small, are responsible for adequately implement a robust procedure, conduct risk assessment, train their employees, vet their suppliers, agents or contractors, irrespective of where they are trading.
It is vital for companies to adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption. The company directors should also make it clear that the company expects its management and employee to conduct all business in an honest and ethical manner.
The risk from third parties must be acknowledged too. Accordingly, companies should also extend this proscription to all business partners through anti-bribery and corruption terms and conditions stated in contracts, as well as through verbal communications.
Blackhawk Intelligence can help to mitigate risks
With specialist teams overseeing due diligence, financial fraud investigation and background checks respectively, Blackhawk Intelligence is well-positioned to assist in your anti-bribery and corruption programme.
Areas we can help include:
- Bribery training for your staff
- Investigating any suspected bribery or corruption practice
- Conducting due diligence before you entering into a new partnership
- Conducting background checks on a person of interest
Benefits of working with Blackhawk Intelligence
We are professional, discreet and above all, we respect confidentiality. Our due diligence and investigative staff are well trained and have helped many legal firms, financial companies as well as individuals in the UK and abroad.
Our pricing is also transparent with no hidden costs. You will be informed of the progress regularly and stay in control too.
Give us a call today on +44 (0)20 8108 9317 today.