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‘Sorry, we bribed to get business, just fine us’

A British company found that some former employees had paid a bribe to obtain business, and reported this to the authorities. It paid a fine equivalent to the profits made on that business

business Updated: Apr 05, 2016 12:57 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
corruption,bribe,Braid Logistics
(Illustration: JAYANTO)

In a rare occurrence in the slash-and-thrust world of business, a British company has hit the headlines after it reported itself to authorities when an internal investigation found that it had bribed to get business, and agreed to pay 2.2 million pounds as fine.

Britain has a stringent anti-bribery policy after the passage of the Bribery Act 2010, which makes it illegal for British companies to use bribes to obtain business anywhere in the world.

The Glasgow-based Braid Logistics (UK), which specialises in freight and logistics, said the case involved a small number of ex-employees and an employee of a client company.

In a civil settlement with the Crown Office, the company agreed to pay £2.2million after accepting that 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 that when this was brought to the attention of the company’s board, it began an internal investigation that revealed breaches of the Bribery Act.

Its reaction and cooperation with Crown Office meant the case was referred to the Civil Recovery Unit, where it was dealt with on a civil rather than criminal basis, with the settlement based on the gross profit made in relation to the contracts specified.

Alasdair Davidson, group financial director of the company, 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.”

First Published: Apr 05, 2016 12:57 IST