NI: Belfast law firm warns of increasing bribery clampdown

Dorit McCann, partner in the corporate team at Carson McDowell
Dorit McCann, partner in the corporate team at Carson McDowell

Belfast firm Carson McDowell has warned that a clampdown on convictions under the Bribery Act 2010 is gathering pace.

The firm said several recent cases illustrated a marked increase in activity under the Act over the last two quarters.

Most recently, Braid Logistics was last week ordered to pay £2 million to the Crown Office in Scotland after self-reporting suspicious activities it had uncovered in its own organisation. The company accepted that it had obtained business through conduct which fell foul of the Act and has since introduced stricter anti-bribery policies and anti-bribery training for employees.

Dorit McCann, partner in the corporate team at Carson McDowell, said: “Since its implementation in July 2011 the Bribery Act 2010 has failed to make the impact expected, with few convictions of individuals and even fewer of commercial organisations, who were expected to feel the full force.

“However, recent months have seen a significant turning point and the Braid Logistics case earlier this week serves to highlight that businesses should not become too relaxed. The actions being taken under the Act are ever increasing and such activities cannot be swept under the carpet.”

Ms McCann added: “We would urge companies in Northern Ireland to be proactive in carrying out internal investigations to prevent an increase in cases locally.

“Implementing adequate policies and procedures is the best way to keep on top of what is going on in your organisation and offers the best chance of being treated leniently should allegations be made.”

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