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Bribes used to secure contracts worth millions

Many bribes paid by UK companies to secure business interests are relatively small in contrast with contracts gains, which can run into several millions of pounds.

This is the finding of the EY Bribery Digest, which analysed 27 bribery prosecutions against UK businesses and found one-third of bribes paid out were valued between £83,000 and £300,000. In return for these bribes, companies apparently ended up winning contracts worth as much as £16 million.

The analysis also revealed that although traditional cash bribes are a feature of payments by UK companies, the main methods involved more sophisticated kickbacks through intermediaries; or through payments disguised as “consultancy”, “marketing”, “service fees”, “commissions”, or “local taxes”.

Setting aside cases relating to enquiries by the UN Independent Inquiry Committee, whistleblowing (four cases) was the main route by which bribes have been discovered by enforcers, followed by press investigations (three cases) and suspicious activity reports (three cases).

It will be interesting to see whether the intelligence capability at the newly established National Crime Agency’s Economic Crime Command is more effective at identifying serious bribery cases which would have remained undetected in the past.

Contact Jonathan Fisher QC

For specialist advice on issues of corporate, regulatory or financial crime, contact Jonathan Fisher QC on +44 (0)20 7427 463 or click here to make an electronic enquiry.

Jonathan Fisher QC listed in Chambers UK 2014
Presentation to the Academy of European Law
The views expressed in this article represent those of the author and not Bright Line Law.

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