By Jaan Larner, Consultant Solicitor, Keystone Law
Case Study 1
On 18th November 2011 Munir Patel, 22, a court clerk, at Redbridge Magistrates' Court in East London, pleaded guilty to accepting £500 to "get rid" of speeding charges, becoming the first person to be convicted of an offence under the new Bribery Act.
He planned to prevent the details of the case being recorded on a court database.
He was given three years in prison for bribery offences and six years for misconduct in a public office, with the sentences to run concurrently.
Case Study 2
In February 2012, British orthopaedics maker Smith & Nephew agreed to pay US$22.2 million (roughly £14 million) to settle American criminal and civil allegations that it bribed doctors employed by the Greek government for more than a decade to win business.
The US government accused the company of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Greece between 1997 and 2008. The law prohibits bribery of foreign government officials or company executives to secure or retain business. This law is the precursor of the UK Bribery Act, which is designed to create similar offences.
It is alleged that:
1. Smith & Nephew's subsidiaries sold orthopaedic products at full price to a Greek distributor, then channelled the amount of the distributor's discount to an offshore shell company controlled by the distributor; and
2. the distributor used the offshore funds to pay bribes to Greek doctors to buy company products.
The U.S. Justice Department said Smith & Nephew Inc acknowledged responsibility for the actions that its subsidiaries and employees took to make the payments to Greek doctors.
Company chief executive Olivier Bohuon later stated that the issues "do not reflect Smith & Nephew today, but they underscore that we must remain vigilant every place we do business and let nothing compromise our commitment to integrity."
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