A UK subsidiary of an unnamed US company has agreed to pay more than £6m for corruption and bribery offences in the Serious Fraud Office’s second deferred prosecution agreement.
The deal struck between the company and the SFO was approved last week by Lord Justice Leveson at Southwark Crown Court, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice. The counterparty to the DPA is identified as ‘a UK SME’ which cannot be named due to ongoing, related legal proceedings.
The indictment alleged conspiracy to corrupt, contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977; conspiracy to bribe, contrary to section 1 of the same act; and failure to prevent bribery, contrary to section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, all in connection with contracts to supply products to customers in foreign jurisdictions.
In line with DPA procedures the indictment was immediately suspended.
The company will pay financial orders of £6,553,085. This includes a £6,201,085 disgorgement of gross profits and a £352,000 financial penalty; £1,953,085 of the disgorgement will be paid by the SME’s US registered parent company as repayment of a significant proportion of the dividends it received from the SME over the indictment period.
Leveson stated: ‘[This conclusion] provides an example of the value of self-report and cooperation along with the introduction of appropriate compliance mechanisms.’
SFO director David Green said: ‘This case raised the issue about how the interests of justice are served in circumstances where the company accused of criminality has limited financial means with which to fulfil the terms of a DPA but demonstrates exemplary cooperation.’
The charges, now suspended, covered events from June 2004 to June 2012 in which a number of the company’s employees and agents were involved in the systematic offer and/or payment of bribes to secure contracts in foreign jurisdictions. The SFO investigation took two years.
The SFO said that the SME’s parent company implemented a global compliance programme in late 2011. In August 2012, this programme resulted in concerns being raised within the business about how a number of contracts had been secured.
The SME retained a law firm that undertook an independent internal investigation and the firm delivered a report to the SFO in January 2013, after which the SFO conducted its own investigation.