A coalition of 20 pension fund investors and fund managers (led by some of the world’s largest pension fund groups, including CalSTRS) with assets of US$1.7 trillion (all signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment) have contacted 21 major companies in the defence, construction and other sectors in 14 countries to reveal the measures they have in place to avoid bribery and corruption in business with their suppliers.
A number of companies from the Russian-German Trade Chamber (e.g. Mercedes-Benz Rus, Siemens, Deutsche Bank) have committed to a Russia-focused ‘Initiative for implementing the principles of corporate ethics in the commercial activities in the Russian Federation’ and an international ‘Principles of fighting bribe-taking’.
The OECD published its (non legally binding) 'Good Practice Guidance' addressed to companies for creating and ensuring the effectiveness of internal controls, ethics and compliance programmes or measures for preventing and detecting the bribery of foreign public officials in their international business transactions, and to business organisations and professional associations, which play an essential role in assisting companies in these efforts.
Robert Dougall, a former vice-president of Leeds-based healthcare products company DePuy International, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, became the first British whistleblower to be prosecuted by the SFO and imprisoned for involvement with corruption.
The German automotive company Daimler AG was charged on 23 March 2010 by the US DoJ in a criminal information (a criminal charge that is brought by a prosecutor, unlike an indictment where a criminal charge is brought by a grand jury) with conspiracy to violate the FCPA books and records provisions and violating the books and records provisions.
A Munich court found two former managers of Siemens AG, the engineering company, guilty of breach of trust and abetting bribery for their roles in a corruption scandal that resulted in the company agreeing to pay US$1.3 billion to end corruption investigations in the US and Germany.
The UK Bribery Bill received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010.
The traditional role of the in-house lawyer is changing.
Innospec Limited, a subsidiary of Innospec Inc., a NASDAQ-listed company based in the US, and a manufacturer of a lead-based anti-knock fuel additive called Tetraethyl lead (‘TEL’), pleaded guilty in the UK in Southwark Crown Court on 18 March 2010 to charges brought under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 of conspiring to give or agree to give corrupt payments (contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906) to Government Officials in Indonesia as inducements to secure, or as rewards for having secured, contracts with the Indonesian Government for the supply of TEL.
Mounting pressure over the last eleven years for reform of the law relating to bribery and corruption in the UK has resulted in the announcement this week in the Queen’s Speech in Parliament that the government intends a new Bribery Bill to be enacted within the next Parliamentary session.