In a busy week for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the United Kingdom’s antibribery prosecutor, it has announced its first-ever deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) for bribery offences and the first guilty plea under the U.K. Bribery Act (UKBA). Both matters involved the application of the much heralded, but still infrequently enforced, corporate offense of failure to prevent bribery by associated persons, under Section 7 of the UKBA.
On November 30, 2015, the SFO announced that it had agreed to a DPA with ICBC Standard Bank plc in relation to US $6 million in bribes paid by its Tanzanian subsidiaries in 2012 and 2013 to companies owned by Tanzanian public officials, in order to obtain work from the Government of Tanzania that ultimately generated US $8.4 million in transaction fees for the bank.
Having self-reported to the SFO in April 2013, the bank faced charges under Section 7 of the UKBA for failing to prevent the corrupt activity of its staff and subsidiaries in Tanzania. Section 7 establishes a strict liability offense under which an entity will be held liable for the illegal conduct of its employees or representatives without the need for prosecutors to establish that the entity was aware of the bribe. The DPA, as approved by a senior judge, requires the bank to disgorge its US$ 8.4 million profit, compensate the Tanzanian government to the tune of US $6 million and pay a fine of US $16.8 million (and the SFO’s costs). The bank has already paid a US $4.2 million fine to the U.S. authorities, as the SFO has been working closely with both the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in pursuing this case.
The original article can be found at jdsupra.com