Wed 5th Feb 2014
Anti-bribery procedure vital for exports near and far
The need for export businesses to have effective compliance controls in place is vital to minimise risk of prosecution under the Bribery Act – that was the message this morning as the Pinsent Masons Regulatory Compliance Forum was launched at a joint event with the NI Chamber of Commerce.
Under the 2010 Act, UK-based individuals and enterprises can be prosecuted in Northern Ireland for making bribes anywhere in the world. A company can also be liable for prosecution if suitable counter-bribery procedures are not in place, however it is a defence in any action taken if it can be demonstrated that suitable counter-measures were in operation.
Speaking before the event, Pinsent Masons Director Laura Gillespie said: “For any company who plans to export, ensuring that effective anti-bribery controls are in place is an important way to reduce any likelihood of criminal prosecution. Penalties are severe with those convicted on indictment liable to prison sentences of up to ten years.”
“Businesses who export to countries where the incidence of bribes is high should ensure that proper contractual controls, due diligence and procedures are in place. As importantly, these need to be constantly reviewed and updated to meet the changing needs of the business environment. In launching our Regulatory Compliance Forum we are working with businesses to minimise the risk of falling foul of regulations both at home and when doing business abroad. As a global law firm, our international reach gives our clients on the ground advice where it is needed.” she added.
Laura was joined at the event by Tom Stocker, Partner, Pinsent Masons where they led a panel discussion which included Clare Kennedy, Senior Manager, Forensic Services, PriceWaterhouseCoopers; Ruth Graham, Head of Trade & Export Finance, Danske Bank; Oscar Wooley, Director, Suki Tea and Tracey McCabe, Head of HR, Lagan Construction Ltd.
The Pinsent Masons Regulatory Compliance Forum will deliver expert advice for Northern Ireland businesses across a range of regulatory and compliance issues including anti-bribery, competition, fraud, financial sanctions, health and safety, environmental issues, data protection and freedom of information. Those taking part can network, contribute expertise and gain insight into how best to respond to issues in this field.
Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, NI Chamber of Commerce said: “A key element of Northern Ireland’s economic recovery is an increase in the level of exports. Ensuring that risks to business are minimalised during this process is vital if we are to see improved global sales of local goods and services. Today’s event and the Pinsent Masons Regulatory Compliance Forum will give businesses comfort to take the first steps to international trade.”