UK’s First Corporate Conviction Under Section 7 Of The Bribery Act

The Bribery Act 2010 is among the strictest international bribery legislation. It introduces a new strict liability offence for companies and partnerships that fail to prevent bribery, state Curry Popeck Solicitors. This law makes it compulsory for companies to show that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery. Under this law there are provisions for strict penalties for active and passive bribery by individuals as well as companies.

Recently, construction and professional services company, Sweett Group PLC, was sentenced and ordered to pay £2.25 million, which is likely to have a severe commercial impact on Sweett Group’s operations. According to Lionel Curry, Curry Popeck’s founding partner, this case illustrates the far-reaching extra-territorial effect of the Bribery Act2010 and sheds light on certain aspects of the Bribery Act and the likely penalties for Corporate Offences.

Cyril Sweett International Limited (CSIL), a subsidiary of Sweett Group, based in Cyprus secured a contract worth £1.6 million in relation to the construction of a hotel in Dubai with Al Badie Group.  On the same day as signing the contract, CSIL entered a contract (Contract X) with a company beneficially owned by a prominent officer within the Al Badie Group. Contract X was used by CSIL as a vehicle to bribe the prominent officer within the Al Badie Group to secure the £1.6 million contract in respect of the hotel project in Dubai. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) commenced an investigation into the matter, after which Sweett Group was sentenced in February 2016 and was ordered to pay a confiscation order of£851,152.23 and a fine of £1.4 million. In addition, the SFO was awarded £95,000 in costs.

SFO Director, David Green CB QC, remarked that such cases significantly damage the UK’s commercial reputation. The conviction of Sweett Group PLC, under section 7 of the Bribery Act, sends a strong message that UK companies must take full responsibility for the actions of their employees and, in their commercial activities, act in accordance with the law.

According to the law experts at Curry Popeck Section 7 was introduced in the UK in 2011, to impose a duty on those running such companies throughout the world. It provides that a company will be guilty of an offence if a person associated with it bribes another person intending either to obtain or retain business, or an advantage in the conduct of business, for the company. Sweett Group was convicted of the second form of illegal conduct by way of bribes paid to the prominent officer within the Al Badie Group.

This case emphasises the need for  companies to strengthen their internal systems, controls and risk procedures and refine their strategies to ensure they never fall victim to such conduct.

For any questions regarding the issues raised in this article or for legal assistance on private company and partnership matters including joint ventures, shareholders’ agreements, partnership and company formations, mergers and acquisitions and trading agreements, contact CurryPopeck. To schedule an appointment, visit-http://www.currypopeck.com/

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Improper Disclosure Of Wealth In Divorce Proceedings May Land You In Trouble

In divorce proceedings, both husband and wife are legally required to fully disclose their assets to the court for consideration in the financial resolution of the separation, state CurryPopeck solicitors.Property and assets, whether acquired before the marriage or during the marriage can all be subject to division in divorce proceedings.

Penalties for improper disclosure of wealth can range from an increased award to the truthful spouse, to even prison time. Despite strict laws, skulduggery has become increasingly more prominent in divorce matters as can be seen in the following recent case involving the ex-wives of two very wealthy men:

The women found that their divorce settlements had been concluded on the basis of wrong information regarding the finances provided by their husbands. A series of legal cases resulted in a decision by the Supreme Court which displays how courts can treat those people who provide misleading information, advice Curry Popeck.

The two women claimed that their husbands had provided false information about their wealth throughout the legal proceedings to divide their respective family assets. As a result the wives had accepted smaller settlements than they actually deserved. The wives therefore asked the Court to set aside the earlier divorce settlements.

In one case, the Court of Appeal found the husband guilty of fraudulent disclosure of wealth, but refused to overturn the settlement, stating that the outcome would not have been significantly different.

In the second case, the court found that the husband had failed to disclose the existence of significant assets, so he was convicted of fraud. The Court of Appeal, however, refused to reopen the divorce settlement.

The matter was then taken to the Supreme Court, which overturned both settlements, which clearly demonstrates that where there is dishonesty in disclosing the true value of assets during divorce proceedings, the courts are likely to order the settlements to be reconsidered.

An important point to note here is that in the cases where a spouse suspects fraudulent disclosure of wealth by the other spouse, dishonesty must be proven. Whilst in these big money cases, shown above, the husbands’ fraudulent disclosure was well evidenced, this may not be as easy to prove on a smaller scale.Therefore, if a spouse in a divorce proceeding believes that their spouse is being dishonest about their finances, the spouse should immediately contact experienced solicitors like CurryPopeck solicitors, to request a court order to compel disclosure to resolve the failure to disclose.

If you would like to discuss more about divorce or any other issues pertaining to divorce or you need advice in relation to other areas of law, such as family law, employment law, dispute resolution and litigation, property and corporate law, Curry Popeck has experienced solicitors in Harrow, Middlesex who can provide you with the best legal advice. Please contact Curry Popeck, by visiting their website-http://www.currypopeck.com/