by Amanda Montano and Judith Abanto
Kicking off the monthly Breakfast Seminar series for 2019, Sullivan’s London partner Mark Norris gave a presentation on the key compliance risks faced by trade and project finance practitioners.
Putting the need for compliance in context, he reported that the World Bank and the OECD estimate that bribery, tax evasion and corruption are responsible for revenue losses in the billions, particularly in poorer economies.
The UK is internationally renowned for having a robust compliance regime. The Bribery Act 2010 (the BA 2010) and the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (the CFA 2017) are among the strictest legislation on bribery and tax evasion worldwide. Each has an extra-territorial reach beyond the UK, further underscoring their practical impact on both domestic and international businesses.
Highlights of Mark’s presentation include:
- a high-level overview of what constitutes bribery and the prime offences under the BA 2010;
- the Section 7 strict liability offence under the BA 2010, which places the burden of proof on companies to demonstrate that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery;
- what lessons can be gleaned from R v Skansen Interiors Limited (2018) as a case study for the first contested conviction for a Section 7 offence;
- the Serious Fraud Office’s approach to facilitation payments under the BA 2010;
- the new Section 45 and 46 strict liability offences under the CFA 2017, which will see companies being held accountable for failing to prevent those who act for or on their behalf from criminally facilitating tax evasion;
- six guiding principles for establishing adequate procedures to prevent tax evasion; and
- practical examples of tax evasion offences and the implications for drafting.
Please click here for a link to a video of the seminar to get your refresher on Trade, Export and Project Finance compliance.
For further information on how the Bribery Act 2010 and the Criminal Finances Act 2017 impact your business please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Geoff Wynne or your usual contact at the firm.
 Regina v Skansen Interiors Limited, Southwark Crown Court, Case Number: T20170224, 21 February 2018
Amanda Montanto is an associate and Judith Abanto is a trainee solicitor at Sullivan & Worcester UK LLP.