Spotlight shines on companies’ anti-bribery measures

Law firm Pinsent Masons said the bar for managing bribery risk is set to rise. Picture: Jon Savaga/TSPL

Law firm Pinsent Masons said the bar for managing bribery risk is set to rise. Picture: Jon Savaga/TSPL

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Scotland’s top prosecutors will highlight steps firms can take to avoid falling foul of anti-bribery and corruptions laws at an event this week.

The deputy crown agent, Lindsey Miller, will be among the speakers at the event in Aberdeen, which will discuss the self-reporting initiative in which companies that discover potential bribery issues may be eligible for an out-of-court financial settlement instead of a criminal prosecution.

Since the initiative was introduced in 2011, five companies – including three Aberdeen-headquartered businesses – have self-reported and agreed settlements that netted the public purse £8.3 million. Money raised under the scheme is distributed to community projects.

Tom Stocker, partner at Pinsent Masons, which is staging the seminar on Thursday, said the bar that companies are expected to reach in managing bribery risk is set to rise with the recent launch of a consultation by the UK’s attorney general on new laws to crack down on corporate crime and a bribery enforcement push.

The event will also discuss a new international anti-bribery standard that companies which export from the UK will be expected to be certified to. Stocker said the proposed standard was “double edged”.

He added: “On the one hand, it provides a checklist of actions for companies to take, to put in place effective anti-bribery management systems. On the other hand, it provides prosecutors with a route map for prosecuting companies that fail to do so.”

Other speakers at the event include Laura Buchan, the procurator fiscal depute for specialist casework, and Subsea 7’s group head of compliance, Andrew Hayward.

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