Three recent cases act as a reminder that the CPS, HMRC and NCA, as well as the SFO, are actively enforcing the UK Bribery Act and conducting cross-border investigations. Two of the cases summarised below also show a focus on the demand side of bribery (i.e. suspected offences of individuals receiving or requesting a bribe under Section 2 of the UK Bribery Act) rather than the usual focus on the offering of bribes.
Gambling company Entain recently announced that it has put aside £585 million to cover a potential settlement over alleged bribery offences regarding its former Turkish business, Sportingbet, which it owned between 2011 and 2017. Entain is accused of failing to prevent bribery under Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act.
It is expected that the DPA, which will be the second largest financial settlement by UK criminal authorities, will be put before a court later this year. According to Entain, the company's "extensive cooperation" with HMRC's investigation will result in it receiving "full credit". It is not clear whether or not the company self-reported the issue.
Romy Andrianarisoa – Gemfields
The Madagascan president's current chief of staff, Romy Andrianarisoa, and an associate were arrested in August 2023 by the NCA, with the assistance from the CPS, on suspicion of seeking an alleged bribe amounting to approximately £225,000 from Gemfields, a UK mining company in relation to licences in Madagascar.
The NCA has said that the pair were arrested at a meeting in London, following a report by Gemfields to the NCA. The NCA has released a statement thanking Gemfields for engaging the NCA quickly, and the CPS for providing urgent advice in relation to charging. The case is a helpful reminder that the UK Bribery Act can potentially be engaged even where no benefit changes hands.
Former Nigerian oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke has been charged with bribery offences following an NCA investigation relating to allegations of bribery in Nigeria. The NCA suspects that she accepted bribes in return for awarding multi-million pound oil and gas contracts. The NCA has alleged that Alison-Madueke has benefited from at least £100,000 in cash, luxury family holidays, private jets and the use of multiple London properties, along with other financial rewards including payment of school fees.
According to the NCA, assets worth millions of pounds relating to the alleged offences have been frozen, and earlier this year it provided evidence to the US Department of Justice that led to the recovery of assets linked to Alison-Madueke's alleged corruption worth $53.1 million.
The investigation has involved the work of the NCA's International Corruption Unit, the Economic Crime and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria and the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre.
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