Although making a small payment may appear to be preferable to losing a project, having it run behind schedule or gain access to work that otherwise may not be available, using illegitimate payments (even those that may appear to be considered as ‘hospitality’) are taken very seriously by the law courts.
If you or your business have been identified as being involved in bribery or corruption, you are likely to be feeling very uncomfortable about what the outcome might be.
To define what bribery and corruption are, read on.
Bribery is the act of giving or receiving a reward that is unearned to either influence or persuade somebody to behave in a certain way. It’s sometimes known as a ‘kickback’ when it’s given after favourable treatment has been received. They are both considered corrupt.
Corruption is when bribery, abuse of power, fraud, extortion, collusion, embezzlement, money laundering or deception are used to gain an advantage.
Facilitation payments are the payment of money to officials used to encourage actions to be taken faster or ‘facilitated’. Whatever this is known as ‘grease’ or ‘speed’ payments, they are a version of bribes.
In the UK there is a law known as the UK Bribery Act. This means that every business and individual needs to comply with this act; otherwise, a prosecution could take place.
If you’re facing allegations of bribery and corruption, it’s vital to engage a lawyer as quickly as possible. Both individuals and businesses can have their reputation spoilt by accusations of bribery. It’s critical to take on defence lawyers with the experience to defend you.
Taking early action can make all the difference with regards to the outcome of your case. A sharp lawyer with experience in this field of law may even be able to get your case dismissed before it progresses to the court stage.
Have you been arrested or charged with Bribery or Corruption?
If you or somebody close to you has been arrested or charged in connection with bribery and corruption, or you are under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) it is essential to engage an experienced solicitor as quickly as possible.
You’re likely to be feeling anxious, stressed and worried about what might happen.
In some cases, there may even have been a confusion with regards to what happened and who is involved. It’s possible that you weren’t involved in the situation and should not have been suspected of playing a role.
We have put together some of the typical questions that our bribery and corruption clients have with answers to provide you with guidance and support. We aim to make this as easy and stress-free for you as possible.
If you have a question that is not answered here, please call us on 0208 888 5225, use the WhatsApp link on this page or contact us. We will provide you with answers and as much information as we can.
What type of actions are considered Bribery or Corruption?
Here are some examples of the type of actions that are considered to be bribery and corruption offences.
When it comes to this offence, both the payer and recipient of the bribe can be penalised. This offence is taken so seriously, that even if it took place outside to the UK, you might well be prosecuted for it. The interesting point about the Bribery Act is that the bribe does not even have to have been accepted for there to be punishment.
The three main offences involved in this crime are:
Offering to give, promising to give or actually giving a bribe to another person;
Asking for, agreeing to accept a bribe from another person
Giving a bribe to influence a foreign public official.
To illustrate or show a more precise meaning, here are more details about examples of the offence:
Bribery of foreign public officials – when a payment is made to a foreign public official with the intention of either gaining or retaining the business of the official.
Failure of organisations to prevent bribery – If a person commits the offence has close ties to a commercial organisation and the offence is related to the organisation, then the organisation may well take the blame. They will need to prove that they put the right procedures in place to prevent such an act.
Prosecution against senior officers of a company – in addition to prosecuting individuals and organisations for bribing, it’s possible that senior officers of a company can be prosecuted if an agreement to the bribe was present.
Of course, this crime is challenging to the business community with regards to facilitation payments and corporate hospitality. However, by using the right regulation lawyer, you can put a robust anti-bribery policy into your business for the ultimate protection.
Corporate hospitality – how corporate hospitality is applied needs to be considered wither regards to the legal implications.
Facilitation payments – these payments are typically small and made to speed up the performance of duties for unloading of cargo and the issuance of permits, etc.
In situations where facilitation payments are demanded, it can put organisations into difficult circumstances. However, these payments are classified as being bribes, and if they are made, there is a risk of prosecution. It’s recommended that you contact a lawyer if you’ve been asked to make a payment in the past, or in the present for advice on individual cases.
The lead agency for investigating any national or overseas bribery and corruption is the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Their investigations are known to be in depth and lengthy. If they feel there is a chance of getting a conviction, they will prosecute, especially if it is an act that is in the best interest of the public to do so.
Self reporting bribery and corruption
If a bribery or corruption incident has taken place in your organisation and you need to self-report, it won’t necessarily guarantee you immunity from a criminal prosecution. However, it will be considered, in particular, if the SFO is part of the protection used by the organisation.
What happens in a Bribery and Corruption investigation?
When a bribery and corruption investigation takes place, it is quite often performed by the Serious Fraud Office. To those involved, it will be a very worrying time. There will be concerns about how long the prison sentence might be and what the fee will be. You may worry about your dependents not being in a position to be able to pay their bills or buy groceries.
Here is some general advice on how to handle the investigation. The process can be complicated and lengthy, but by taking legal counsel as early as possible, you will be putting yourself into a position where success is significantly more likely.
You’ll typically discover that you’re part of a bribery and corruption investigation when either the police or the serious fraud office contact you. For organisations who suspect that bribes may have been paid, it’s critical that you begin an investigation into the allegations to determine what has happened so that actions can be taken to address the issues.
You’ll likely be requested to attend an interview at the police station unless your arrest has already occurred.
You may have been falsely accused of bribery and corruption
Please also note that in some cases, people can be wrongly accused of bribery and corruption. If you feel this is you, perhaps there has been confusion, or you have been duped by fake paperwork.
Our regulatory solicitors have experience in providing legal advice to businesses and individuals who are facing accusations of bribery and corruption. We can also provide training to accountants and other lawyers on how to comply with bribery laws.
Could you go to prison for Bribery and Corruption?
If you’re convicted for committing a bribery and corruption offence, it’s possible that you could be imprisoned. There could also be a fine to pay if your’e an organisation who has failed to prevent bribery.
By taking the legal guidance of an experienced solicitor early on, it may even be possible to get the case dismissed or resolved outside of the court system.
We handle bribery and corruption allegations and accusation cases regularly and have deep expertise and experience in this field. Our legal team are here to provide you with guidance and advice for you to take the best possible course of action. No matter what your case is or the size of it, get in touch with us now on 0208 888 5225.
What type of sentence could you get for Bribery and Corruption?
The sentence that you are given will depend upon what you are charged with. However, the maximum penalty for bribery and corruption is ten years’ imprisonment. Organisations may also face an unlimited fee. Read more about the typical sentencing for Bribery and Corruption offences.
What mitigating factors may be considered in sentencing?
When sentencing for bribery and corruption, your case will be examined for what your role was, whether you are deemed responsible for ensuring that bribery and corruption do not take place for your organisation and what the outcome was.
How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?
Stuart Miller Solicitors’ expert fraud lawyers are knowledgeable and experienced with handling bribery and corruption allegations. Our most recent instruction involved a multi-million pound public transport irregularity.
We have collaborations with leading barristers and QC’s who will engage with us to prepare your defence from the outset. Whether the allegations you face are in the UK or with an international element, we have the expertise and strategic intelligence to give you the best chances of success.
In 2010, there was major development in UK law with the introduction of the bribery Act 2010. The Crown Prosecution Service and the Ministry of Justice were quick to offer their support to the legislation and profess their vigour to pursue those involved in corruption globally.
What can our Bribery & Corruption Lawyers do for you ?
Our expert bribery & corruption solicitors can assist you with challenging and minimising the impact of restraint orders that may be imposed on you, your family members and crucially your business. We have a culture of scrutinising and fighting the application of onerous bail conditions and challenging the admissibility of evidence often obtained using covert surveillance.
We are familiar with making applications for international assistance to assist your defence and our fraud lawyers are always prepared to travel to any destination to find, preserve and secure vital evidence to win your case.
We will consider the media’s hunger to report such cases and to broadcast inaccurate and misleading information. Our fraud solicitors are trained in evaluating the impact of such reports and taking immediate action to limit the damage they cause. We will monitor the release of information and track the source in order to explore favourable applications such as the impossibility of a fair trial owing to likely prejudice caused by the media.
At Stuart Miller Solicitors we foster a culture of success. You will find our lawyers to be talented, energetic and highly motivated to achieve the best result both for you and the reputation of the firm. We have formed relationships with forensic experts of all fields who can be called upon to provide support for your defence. We have access to substantial resources in the UK and abroad to ensure that all witnesses are traced and all necessary evidence is preserved for your defence. We always endeavour to secure defence material at the beginning and avoid or halt a prosecution altogether.
Want to discuss your case with a Bribery & Corruption Solicitor?
We will offer you a free consultation for you to discuss your case with us. Please contact us and ask to speak to our bribery & corruption solicitors in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find on this page.
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