Two interesting points emerge from this;
- Firstly, that we focus too much on the new Bribery Act when there is other existing legislation that is used to address problems of corporate bribery. Civil action using section 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act provides wide powers for restitution and can be much quicker, cheaper, easier route for the authorities to pursue. The standard of proof is also lower - civil actions requiring a 'balance of probabilities'. As I discussed in a post just a few days ago, Willis have been prosecuted under the Financial Services and Markets Act.
- Secondly that the SFO and FSA seem to be very active in steps to prosecute bribery and corruption overseas. This case is only one of several to have been dealt with recently.
The first step is risk assessment; the second clear statements (commitment and training) from company boards on acceptable behaviour; the third due diligence on business partners, the fourth accounting control of the flow of money - so you know who receives payment and for what - even when routed through third parties - this also includes monitoring of procedures.