UK Jury Returns Guilty Verdict in First Contested Failure to Prevent Bribery case
03/01/2018The Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed that a refurbishment company, Skansen Interiors Limited, has been found guilty of failure to prevent bribery under section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010.
This is the first contested case under section 7 of the Bribery Act, which criminalizes commercial organizations for failure to prevent bribery by persons associated with them. A defence to this offence is available if a company can show that it has adequate procedures to prevent bribery and Skansen unsuccessfully argued that it had such controls in place.
The CPS alleged that Skansen's managing director at the time bribed a project manager at a real estate company to award refurbishment contracts worth £6m to Skansen.
In its defence, the company argued that it was a small business of around 30 people operating in a single location out of an open-plan office, and therefore did not need sophisticated controls for its procedures to constitute “adequate” ones under the Act. There were checks and balances in place relating to the payment of invoices. It also argued that the company ethos was for everyone to act honestly and ethically, with a number of policies referencing the need for employees to act in an open and honest manner.
The jury found that Skansen's controls did not constitute adequate procedures and returned a guilty verdict. The judge gave Skansen an absolute discharge, likely because it is now a dormant company with no assets.
The individuals involved pleaded guilty to offences of bribery and being bribed under the Bribery Act but have not yet been sentenced.TOPIC: Enforcement