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Bribery and corruption lawyers
If you or your business are suspected of committing a financial crime, prompt advice from legal representation with specialist knowledge across this area is vital. Call our bribery and corruption lawyers on 01206 217312.
The reputational impact, and damaging effect, on a business or individual should they be investigated or face prosecution for allegations of financial crime can be serious.
Bribery and corruption investigations can often take many months (or longer) before progressing to a trial before a court. Our involvement from an early stage can sometimes make a significant difference in bringing the matter to a prompt and successful conclusion.
The principal fraud offences are contained in the Fraud Act 2006, which are:
- Fraud by false representation
- Fraud by failing to disclose information
- Fraud by abuse of position
Common to all three Fraud Act offences is the requirement that the person acts dishonestly, intending to make a gain for himself or another or to cause loss to another (or expose another to a risk of loss).
The Fraud Act contains additional offences relating to the possession, manufacture, or supply of articles for use in frauds, and obtaining services dishonestly. The Theft Act 1968 also contains offences of false accounting and false statements by company directors.
Further, additional offences exist in specific statutes such as companies and tax legislation.
It also remains an offence (at common law) to conspire to defraud with one or more persons. Since it does not matter in law if the intended fraud was never in fact committed, ‘conspiracy to defraud’ is a popular charge where actual evidence of the alleged scheme taking place is complex or weak. However, the prosecution, in pursuing such an allegation, must prove the existence of an agreement and that the suspected person(s) acted dishonestly.
There is a range of regulatory bodies that have legal powers to investigate and prosecute offences involving alleged financial crime. It is also important to note, where such allegations have been made there can be synonymous civil and criminal proceedings running parallel to one another.
Bribery and corruption
The Bribery Act 2010 is the key piece of legislation that has come into force. It introduced changes in the law that significantly impact the conduct undertaken by businesses, both within the UK and their international operations.
- The offences of bribing or being bribed now encompass all private sector transactions. It is important to note that the scope of the statutory offences is extensive insofar as the offences are broadly (intentionally) defined and have significant extraterritorial reach.
- It contains a new strict liability offence of corporations failing to prevent bribery. An organisation will only have a defence to this offence if it can show it had ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent bribery.
- The offences contained within the Bribery Act carry criminal penalties for organisations and individuals. This includes senior members such as directors and managers where an offence is committed with their consent or connivance, including circumstances where they have omitted to act. Unlimited fines can be imposed against both organisations and individuals. The latter also being liable for a maximum term of imprisonment up to 10 years.
Considering the legal regime applicable to allegations of bribery, organisations must implement (and keep under review) all of their anti-corruption procedures to ensure they are sufficiently robust to prevent corruption and mitigate their risk of being accused of committing an offence.
Speak to a bribery and corruption lawyer
If you have been accused of fraud, bribery, corruption or financial crime contact our bribery and corruption lawyer, Tej Thakkar, on 01206 217312.
- Tej Thakkar
- Head of Regulatory