This recent case carries a stern warning for directors and business owners in relation to bribery offences.
Beyond the obligations directly applicable to a business, it needs to make sure it has ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent any ‘associated persons’ from bribing on its behalf. These include employees, a subsidiary company, agent, supplier, contractor or business partner, or indeed anyone who performs services for or on behalf of the organisation.
In this case, the holding company of the subsidiary who had carried out the bribery was fined £2.35m. Despite having an anti-bribery statement, an ethics policy and online training, it was found to have not done enough, and willfully ignored the results of an independent review by accountants.
The lessons for businesses? Make sure you have clear risk-based anti-bribery and corruption procedures in place to stop its employees or agents from committing bribery offences.
Organisations and senior officers, no matter how large or small, should ensure they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery by associated persons on their behalf, or risk being criminally liable for breach of UK bribery law