Partner Bambos Tsiattalou comments in relation to the possibility of a fall-out for Airbus’ contractors in the wake of the record-breaking bribery settlement the company agreed last week, in Compliance Week.

 

Bambos’ comments were published in Compliance Week, 12 February 2020, and can be found here.

“Following its record-breaking $4 billion fine and leniency deal with anti-corruption agencies in France, the United States, and the United Kingdom, airplane maker Airbus can now go about its business without the threat of a criminal conviction hanging over its head.

However, the same can’t be said of any of Airbus’s executives or other employees that might have been involved in the schemes to bribe contractors and government officials, which the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has said are still under investigation and are open to prosecution.

As a result, says Bambos Tsiattalou, founding partner of Stokoe Partnership Solicitors, overseas contractors can therefore now expect to be subjected to significant risk analysis and due diligence in terms of bribery and corruption before they are engaged by major U.K. companies, or before their contracts are renewed. They will also need to ensure that they have strong evidence of high anti-corruption standards, robust internal policies and adequate training on anti-corruption measures.

As a result, says Tsiattalou, companies doing business overseas should:

1. Ensure that their commercial agreements with overseas contractors place meaningful contractual requirements on them in terms of anti-corruption standards, policies and measures. These requirements should include auditing provisions to enable independent monitoring of accounts;

2. Consider requiring contractors to give warranties that they have procedures to prevent corruption and bribery, that their accounts are accurate and comprehensive and that they undertake due diligence to ensure the integrity of their staff. Ask for assurances that neither they nor any connected person has been convicted of a bribery-related offence or is under investigation for one.

3. Consider contractually obliging contractors to provide anti-corruption training to their staff. This may be particularly relevant in parts of the world where bribery is more commonplace and therefore more widely accepted;

4. Subject overseas contractors to ongoing contractual requirements to disclose any new corruption-related incidents, as well as to undertake their own due diligence in terms of anti-corruption on all their own subcontractors and agents.”

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