We have a long track record of defending and advising in bribery and corruption investigations, acting for both individuals and corporates.
Our experience encompasses internal company investigations, through to investigations by enforcement agencies. As well as cases involving the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), National Crime Agency (NCA) and the police, we often advise on cross-border investigations involving agencies such as the US Department of Justice (DoJ), US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), among others.
The global nature of business relationships and supply chains and the extra-territorial reach of legislation like the UK Bribery Act, US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other notable anti-corruption laws, means that it is not unusual for investigations to involve multiple jurisdictions and multiple overseas agencies.
Investigating bribery and corruption is high on the agenda for authorities around the world, hence the very real risk that individuals and corporates may find themselves targets or called as witnesses in related investigations. Facilitation payments and improper business or hospitality expenses can all fall under the spotlight and no sector is immune.
We have acted in most of the well-known bribery and corruption cases of recent years and understand the need for individuals to be independently represented at the earliest stages of an investigation.
How we can help
- We advise on interview strategy, whether internal company interviews, compelled interviews (such as section 2 interviews with the SFO), voluntary interviews or interviews under caution, where individuals are called as a suspect or witness.
- We have considerable experience of advising individuals through trial, again both witnesses and suspects, where reputation and/or liberty is at stake. Sometimes it may be possible to negotiate plea agreements with the SFO under the terms of the AG Guidelines.
Since the introduction of the Bribery Act 2010, companies can be prosecuted and convicted for failing to prevent bribes paid on their behalf by employees, agents, intermediaries or subsidiaries, whether in the UK or overseas. The burden of proof is on companies to demonstrate they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
How we can help
- We can act with your existing lawyers or independently to advise on how to conduct an internal investigation into bribery and corruption allegations.
- We also carry out both domestic and cross-border investigations.
- We are experienced at advising corporates whether and when to self-report, as well as advising on subsequent negotiations with the relevant authority(ies) to mitigate any sanction that may follow.
- Where a company is exposed to the risk of prosecution, we can advise on the merits of the case, the possible financial penalties, the risks of debarment from public contracts, the prospects of a settlement in the form of a deferred prosecution agreement, and the benefits or otherwise of accepting a monitorship.
- We also regularly advise on the design and roll-out of company compliance programmes (from policies to training) to help organisations reduce the risk of falling foul of ‘failure to prevent’ clauses.
We understand the potential reputational and financial risks of becoming embroiled in bribery and corruption cases. That is why we combine our knowledge of the law with a strategic and practical approach to navigate a path in clients’ best interests.
A successful outcome might involve negotiating with the authorities so no criminal charge is brought, entering into an immunity or plea agreement, or helping a client mount a robust defence at trial.
We have a broad team of highly experienced lawyers, as well as a trusted network of lawyers and investigation firms that we work with globally who can assist with investigations and advise on the law and customs in other jurisdictions.
If you need advice on a bribery or corruption issue, please contact our specialist team.