SFO Toughens Policies On Bribery Act Prosecutions

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has issued revised statements of policy on facilitation payments, business expenditure (hospitality and gifts) and self-reporting. These take immediate effect and supersede previous statements of policy or practice.

It is clear that the SFO is toughening its stance when it comes to bribery, stressing that its primary role is “as an investigator and prosecutor of serious or complex fraud, including corruption.”

Self-reporting by a business will not automatically avoid prosecution by the SFO. Even where the violation is not prosecuted, the SFO can still prosecute unreported violations of the Bribery Act 2010 and pass on any relevant information to other bodies. This might be contractsed with some cases in which the party reporting an illegal practice sometimes gets away with what it did – Virgin Atlantic self-reported the fuel price surcharge fixing on airline tickets and it was other airlines that took the brunt of the OFT’s response.

For those businesses worried about the new policies there are ways to mitigate risk and limit damage. Legal advice on implementing appropriate internal procedures and making them stick as part of the employment terms of staff and directors is essential to make sure that if the SFO does find out one way or another about something done in the name of a business it has a ready response.

The Employment Law Team at Forbes can help with all types of policies and making compliance a part of employment.

Daniel Milnes

About Daniel Milnes

Dan is a Partner and Head of Contracts & Projects. Dan’s blogs cover the areas in which his specialities lie in commercial, regulatory and governance law which cover a broad range of matters dealing with contracts, projects, corporate and group structures, funding and compliance with a range of legal regimes including data protection. This also involves writing and advising on various forms of commercial contracts including joint ventures, development and construction agreements and intellectual property contracts including IT agreements, sponsorships and other rights licensing arrangements.
This entry was posted in Corporate & Restructuring, Dispute Resolution, Employment Law.