UK-Based Company and Seven Individuals Charged in the UK With Bribery Surrounding Angola Operations

On July 13, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged a UK-based logistics and freight operations company, along with seven current and former executives, with making corrupt payments in violation of Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. The company is a subsidiary of a privately-owned company headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. The conduct at issue is alleged to have occurred between January 2005 and December 2006, and involves an alleged conspiracy to bribe an agent of an Angolan state oil company to bolster the subsidiary company’s business in the Republic of Angola. Read more…

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UK Serious Fraud Office Enters Into Second DPA with Undisclosed Company

On July 11, the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) entered into its second-ever deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 (conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to bribe) and section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 (failure of a commercial organization to prevent bribery). The counterparty to the DPA is an unnamed UK small to medium sized entity (SME), a wholly-owned subsidiary of a U.S. corporation, which generates the majority of its revenues from exports to Asian markets. The DPA did not name the entities due to ongoing related legal proceedings. Read more…

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London-Based Global Building and Infrastructure Company Ordered to Pay £2.25 Million in First UK Section 7 Conviction

Following its December guilty plea in the UK, a London-based global building and infrastructure company on Friday was ordered by a UK court to pay £2.25 million (including a fine of £1.4 million) for violating Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act of 2010. This was the first-ever conviction and sentence for a company under Section 7, which in essence penalizes companies for failing to prevent bribes made on their behalf. The conduct at issue related to a three-year arrangement in the UAE to secure contracts related to large building contracts.

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London-based Engineering and Construction Firm Admits to Middle East Bribery

On December 2, a London-based engineering and construction firm admitted to violating Section 7 of the U.K.’s Bribery Act of 2010 – failure to prevent bribery – regarding its conduct in the Middle East. According to the firm, the underlying conduct was related to alleged bribery from 2009 to 2011 involving a former employee located in Dubai.

While the SFO has not yet announced specifics associated with the conduct or any penalties that may be imposed, it previously announced the opening of its investigation into the firm’s activities in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. This investigation appeared to have been triggered by a 2013 Wall Street Journal article that reported allegations of bribery involving the construction of a hospital in Morocco. According to the WSJ, a bribe was offered to a United Arab Emirates official’s personal foundation in order to secure the design work contract for the $100 million project.

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UK Serious Fraud Office Issues First Deferred Prosecution Agreement with Johannesburg-based Financial Group

On November 30, the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), working with the DOJ and SEC, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with a Johannesburg-based financial group under the U.K.’s Bribery Act of 2010 regarding payments by two former employees that were allegedly made to bribe members of the Tanzanian government. The DPA represents the SFO’s first-ever DPA and the first use of Section 7 of the Bribery Act, failure of commercial organizations to prevent bribery, by any U.K. prosecutor. As part of this DPA, the financial group agreed to pay a combined $32.2 million in sanctions to the U.K. and Tanzania, and to cover the SFO’s litigation and investigation costs. The DPA also requires the financial group’s continued cooperation with authorities and the implementation of certain recommendations from its independent compliance consultants. Read more…

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