In a rare occurrence in the cut-and-thrust world of business, a British firm has hit the headlines after reporting itself to authorities when an internal probe found it had bribed to get business, and agreeing to pay £2.2 million as a fine.
Britain has a stringent anti-bribery policy since the passage of the Bribery Act 2010, which makes it illegal for British companies to use bribes to obtain business anywhere in the world.
Glasgow-based Braid Logistics (UK), which specialises in freight and logistics, said the case involved a small number of former employees and an employee of a client company.
In a civil settlement with the Crown Office, the company agreed to pay £2.2 million after accepting it had obtained business through unlawful conduct. The settlement came after the company discovered potentially dishonest activities in relation to two freight forwarding contracts in 2012.
Reports from Scotland said when this was brought to the attention of the company’s board, it began an internal investigation which revealed breaches of the Bribery Act.
Its reaction and cooperation with the Crown Office meant the case was referred to the Civil Recovery Unit, where it was dealt with on a civil rather than criminal basis. The settlement was based on the gross profit in relation to the contracts.
Alasdair Davidson, the company’s group financial director, said: “The activities uncovered in this case were the unauthorised actions of a small number of individuals who are no longer employed by the company.
“The payment of this fine now draws a line under the civil case…As we have demonstrated from our own investigations and in self-reporting these activities to the Crown Prosecution Service, we have a zero tolerance policy towards breach of anti-bribery legislation and any other company laws across the entire Braid Group.”