In recent years there has been significant changes in the corruption and anti-bribery regulations. In addition to UK, US there are now 44 signatory countries all actively working towards its implementation to combat the corruption and bribery that international businesses engage. This means that any business or individual that has links in those countries can be subject to a corruption investigation, regardless of where in the world they are established.
One example is Airbus SE for failing to prevent bribery, on the on 31 January 2020, entered into the UK’s seventh Deferred Prosecution Agreement, agreeing to a total sanction being paid in the UK of €990. This was part a small part of a global settlement of €3.6bn, which also involved France and the USA.
The Courts were lenient with in this instance with the Airbus SE directors responsible, as they only received a 15-year ban from holding a position as a director. However, in reality under the UK Bribery Act, individuals that are party to a bribe or corruption that is not within a corporation can be sentenced with up to 10 years in prison and unlimited fines.
SIP has experienced in bribery and corruption cases, these have involved investigations on behalf of medium-sized businesses and corporations that have anti-corruption policies in place, and who had concerns over a suspicious activity. Plus, also for the defence of individuals, where in cases that multinational corporation is being investigated, to try minimise substantial fines they will receive, so they cooperate with the authorities and as a result of allegations made against third-parties may have been an innocent party to a transaction, yet has been arrested and charged
The Serious Fraud Office has published the warning signs that could indicate fraud, bribery or corruption. These include but are not limited to:
- Abnormal cash payments
- Pressure exerted for payments to be made urgently or ahead of schedule
- Payments being made through a third country, e.g. goods or services supplied to country ‘A’ but payment is being made, usually to a shell company, in country ‘B’
- An abnormally high commission percentage being paid to a particular agency. This may be split into two accounts for the same agent, often in different jurisdictions
- Private meetings with public contractors or companies hoping to tender for contracts
- Lavish gifts being received
- An individual never taking time off for holidays, or when ill, or insisting on dealing with specific contractors him/herself
- Someone making unexpected or illogical decisions around accepting projects or contracts
- Unusually smooth process of cases where an individual does not have the expected level of knowledge or expertise
- Abusing decision process or delegated powers in specific cases
- Agreeing to contracts that are not favourable to the organisation
- An unexplained preference for certain contractors during a tendering period
- The avoidance of independent checks on tendering or contracting processes
- Raising barriers around specific roles or departments which are key in the tendering/contracting process
- Bypassing normal tendering/contractors’ procedure
- Invoices being agreed in excess of contract without reasonable cause
- Missing documents or records regarding meetings or decisions
- Company procedures or guidelines not being followed
- Lack of detail in invoices
- The payment of, or making funds available for, high value expenses or school fees etc. on behalf of others
- Isolation and complete responsibility without input/oversight from others in the workplace.
If any of the above give cause for concern in your business then talk to us. SIP has an experienced team of investigators including specialists in cyber and digital forensics and forensic accounting, able to gather the intelligence needed to support the highest level of litigation standards globally.
With our expertise and professionalism, you know you are in safe hands with SIP, so contact us now!!