A strong compliance system enacted company-wide can minimise the possibility of international issues.
London, UK (PRWEB UK) 1 August 2013
On 1 July 2010 the U.K. Bribery Act 2010 was enacted. This legislation holds companies liable for violations in the following areas:
- Extending an offer or promise of a bribe and/or fulfilling the bribe
- Requesting, agreeing to or receiving a bribe
- Bribing a foreign official
- A commercial organisation that did not take appropriate action to prevent a bribe
Complying with the U.K. Bribery Act needs to be a company-wide effort from top to bottom. Partnering with a qualified language services provider (LSP) can help an international organisation localise and translate compliance programs that will be disseminated to its workforce.
The Bribery Act was initially put in action to focus on improper transactions with government officials, but the revision of the 2010 guidance expanded to commercial bribery as well.1 The threat of Bribery Act violations is real, yet some businesses have not taken the optimal precautions to avoid them. In June 2012, Deloitte reported that only 9.3 per cent of responding business to a poll worried about the U.K. Bribery Act.2 Compounding the problem, 51 per cent expected the second half of 2012 to feature more violations than the first.
Although the Bribery Act does encompass all facets of bribes, there are ways for a business to avoid these types situation. As mentioned, partnering with an LSP can make sure message in multiple languages is done properly, whether it is e-learning, video transcription, or training documents. A business can also take a proactive approach by understanding the risks, developing consistent anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies and ensuring those efforts are enforced consistently.
Outside of the company, agents, subsidiaries, partnerships and suppliers can also be accountable. Liability can be assessed by an organisation lacking proper procedure for handling financial payments and transactions, even if no attempt at a bribe was ever made.
Multi-jurisdictional investigations are on the rise for offenders. The U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO), U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are working together and providing information when a violation occurs within their region. The organisations may evaluate issues differently, which is another reason a company needs to be prepared for any potential investigation. Matters can complicate even further when doing business in countries using a different language than where a company traditionally operates.
One of the biggest differences between U.S. laws and the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010 are the banning of facilitation payments. There are times when payments of this nature can be utilised in the United States, but October 2012 amendments to the Bribery Act state, “A facilitation payment is a type of bribe and should be seen as such.”3 Companies need to prepare for this by clearly outlining every expense and being able to explain it should an investigation be launched.
The best way a company can avoid U.K. Bribery Act violations is to install a company-wide compliance system that is comprehensible by all employees and can be applied to every situation a business might encounter. An LSP can assist with translating company materials about compliance efforts, legal documents and media that form a strong program.
1. Bribery Act 2010. U.K. Legislation. April 2010.
2. As Corruption Concerns Rise, Few Fear U.K. Bribery Act: Deloitte Poll. Deloitte. June 2012.
3. Companies face bribery crackdown after new SFO rules. The Telegraph. October 2012.
About Merrill Brink International
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