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DWF advises Scottish company on £2.2m Bribery Act settlement

DWF has advised a Scottish company on a £2.2m Bribery Act settlement, in the second largest settlement involving self-reporting by a company under the Scotland's Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) self-reporting regime. The settlement comes after the company discovered potentially dishonest activity in 2012, instigated a comprehensive review of contracts and transactions and admitted to the COPFS that it had benefited from dishonest activity.

DWF has advised a Scottish company on a £2.2m Bribery Act settlement, in the second largest settlement involving self-reporting by a company under the Scotland's Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) self-reporting regime.

The settlement comes after the parent company discovered that a subsidiary was engaged in potentially dishonest activity in 2012. The parent company instructed DWF to carry out a comprehensive review of thousands of contracts and transactions and millions of emails.

DWF carried out an extensive review of corporate governance procedures and assisted their client in implementing robust new policies and training based on best practice to ensure that no unlawful conduct can take place in the future. Disciplinary proceedings led to the summary removal of employees responsible for the dishonest activity. The subsidiary involved is now under entirely new management.

A report was submitted to the COPFS who deemed the voluntary disclosure as being suitable for civil recovery settlement. The £2.2m agreement with the Civil Recovery Unit (CRU), which is based on the gross profit on the contracts, means there will be no criminal investigation into the parent company or its subsidiaries. The CRU commended the parent company for self-reporting the unlawful conduct to the COPFS.

The parent 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. Expertly assisted by DWF, the company carried out a rapid and thorough response and the wholesale changes made in our company's systems led to our case being conducted on civil grounds.  It is a prerequisite of being considered for civil recovery that the company can show that it has taken measures and put in place policies, processes and procedures that will ensure that this kind of incident could not happen again. 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 Group.”

DWF represented the company, with Euan McSherry leading a team which included Employment Partner, Michael McLauchlin, and Corporate Partner, Derek Ellery. Peter Gray QC was engaged as external Counsel. Grant Thornton and Ernst & Young were also engaged.

If any issues arising out of this article are of interest, please contact Euan McSherry, DWF’s Head of Litigation in Scotland on 0131 474 2309.

Euan McSherry

Partner - Head of Real Estate Litigation (Scotland)

I provide litigation advice to clients in the retail, food and banking sectors. I am the first Scottish lawyer to be listed on the Register of RICS Accredited Mediators.