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Brexit must not mark shift back to UK companies paying overseas bribes

1st August 2017, London – Commenting on the announcement of a Serious Fraud Office investigation into British American Tobacco for alleged bribe-paying in east Africa, Robert Barrington, Executive Director of Transparency International UK, said:

“The SFO investigation announced today will help to determine whether the alleged bribe-paying was an isolated incident or systemic,  who was involved and over what period.  If a company is genuinely cooperating with the investigation, we would expect to see it produce evidence that enables named individuals, to the most senior level, to be prosecuted. “

 “If the allegations prove to be true, the company itself should also be prosecuted, unless it clearly fulfils the requirements of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, which would include exemplary cooperation.  Bribery and corruption have real victims, particularly in less developed countries, and it is entirely unacceptable that companies should carry out criminal activities in Africa that they would not dream of doing in the UK.”

 “British American Tobacco joins a growing list of major British companies accused of bribe-paying in Africa, which includes Rio Tinto, Shell and BAE Systems.  It is good news that some companies have improved in this area while those companies that do pay bribes, however large, are more likely than ever before to be identified and prosecuted.  But even without the pressure of post-Brexit trading, British companies have too often paid bribes overseas.  The concern is now that some companies will return to the days when they lobbied against strong anti-bribery provisions instead of tightening up of standards.  We look to the UK Government to set a firm lead on this when it publishes the long overdue Anti-Corruption Strategy that was promised in May 2016.”

 ***ENDS***

Contact
Dominic Kavakeb
020 3096 7695
079 6456 0340
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk

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Read 67 times Last modified on Tuesday, 1 August 2017 17:06

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