The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has begun investigating allegations that British American Tobacco (BAT) was involved in bribery and corruption in Africa.
In a statement the SFO stated it was “investigating suspicions of corruption in the conduct of business by BAT, its subsidiaries and associated persons”.
Basis Of The Investigations | Kangs National & International Fraud Team
In 2015, former BAT employee, turned ‘whistle blower’, Paul Hopkins told the BBC’s Panorama programme that he had paid bribes, on behalf of BAT, to the Kenyan Revenue Authority for access to information that BAT could use against its main Kenyan competitor, Mastermind.
In addition, Mr Hopkins claimed that BAT Kenya had bribed corrupt government officials in Rawanda and Burundi with a view to manipulating tobacco control regulations within those regions.
Speaking to the Financial Times in March 2017, Nicandro Durante, BAT’s chief executive, provided assurances that action would be taken if misconduct was found to have occurred stating:
- “BAT has very strong policies in this area,”
- “If there is any [wrongdoing], we are going to act and we are going to act in a very strong way.”
However, he acknowledged:
- “We are in 200 countries, so I cannot give a 100 per cent guarantee that everything’s going to go by the book.”
The Relevant Legislation | Kangs Financial Crime Advisors
- The Bribery Act (2010)
contains two offences of “bribing” and “being bribed”, which are committed when an individual:
- offers, promises or gives another person a financial or other advantage in connection with a person performing a function “improperly” (the offence of bribing).
- requests, accepts or agrees to receive a financial or other advantage in connection with a person performing a function “improperly” (the offence of being bribed).
- Bribing A Foreign Public Official
The Act created a new offence of “bribing a Foreign Public Official (‘FPO’)”, which is committed when an individual offers an advantage, or bribe, to an FPO:
- with the intention of influencing the FPO, in his capacity as an FPO
- in order to obtain new business or gain an advantage in the course of business, and
- the FPO is not permitted, by local written law, to be influenced by such an advantage.
Sentencing and Penalties | Kangs Fraud Defence Team
- Conviction of an offence under the Act carries a sentence of up to ten years imprisonment.
- Businesses also risk the possibility of being banned from competing for public contracts, pursuant to the Public Contracts Regulations 2006.
How Can We Assist? | Kangs Fraud & Corruption Solicitors
Kangs Solicitors has an experienced team dealing with bribery and corruption cases able to advise individuals and businesses in relation to allegations of fraud and corruption of every description.
Our team was recently involved in the high profile “Royal Household bribery and corruption case“.
Our team is led by Hamraj Kang who is recognised as one of only two ‘star individuals’ in the country by Chambers UK for his work in the areas of fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption.
Who Can I Contact For Advice? | Kangs Criminal Solicitors
Please feel free to contact our team of lawyers through one of the following: