UK companies unaware of possibility of prosecution

Companies in the UK are lagging behind in preventing risk due to their lack
of awareness of anti-bribery and corruption laws.

Nearly 31% of company secretaries and legal executives at FTSE 350 companies
admitted that they had taken no steps to communicate the significance and
implications of the law to their employees. Some 19% were not aware of the
provision in the law at all, despite the possibility of prosecution under the
UK’s 2001 Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act – which allows for prosecution
of UK employees for corruption committed abroad.

KPMG Forensic, which revealed the shocking statistic, said that the most
common reason for this lack of communication was that the law is ‘not relevant’
to the company’s business, although 90% of companies conduct business overseas.

The firm said there is also a lack of awareness of US law – the Foreign and
Corrupt Practices Act – which allows US authorities to prosecute American
companies and foreign companies with a US footprint for corrupt practices
involving public officials abroad.

KPMG partner in the forensic team, Alex Plavsic, said companies appeared to
be exposing themselves to increased risk of prosecution through either a lack of
awareness of the anti-bribery rules, or a lack of engagement even when they are

‘In the UK, the Serious Fraud Office is known to be actively investigating a
number of cases,’ he warned. ‘Some UK companies may well suddenly sit up with a
jolt and take notice as and when prosecutions are announced.’

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