UK printing company Smith and Ouzman Ltd, convicted of making corrupt payments last year, was sentenced by Recorder Andrew Mitchell, who was not the trial judge, on 8 January 2016 to a £1,316,799 fine and £881,158 confiscation as well as £25,000 prosecution costs.
The conviction follows an SFO investigation into corrupt payments made in return for the award of contracts to the company. The company was convicted under the old legislation as the offences pre dated the Bribery Act 2010.
The directors were also convicted and sentenced almost a year ago 12 February 2015.
The Judge stated in his sentencing remarks that:
“Corruption of foreign officials is damaging to the country in which the corruption occurs, is damaging to the reputation of UK business and of course in the market in which a business operates. It is anti-competitive”
Practitioners should be aware that Director of the SFO, David Green CB QC commented:
“The bribery of foreign officials by UK companies damages this country’s reputation, commercially, politically and ethically. The SFO will pursue such criminal behaviour at both the corporate and individual level.”
He is also reported to have asked the Treasury for blockbuster extra funding amounting to 60% of its budget to pay for major investigations. The SFO is also asking for a cash advance of £15.5m from the contingencies fund to meet ‘an urgent cash requirement for existing services’ to tide it over until parliament approves the full £21.1m of extra funding. This is in addition to the £10m top-up it received last year. Perhaps the Director feels that the recent successes of convictions in LIBOR and the first DPA will have demonstrated that he means business. He will also be aware that he has the support of solicitor general Robert Buckland QC, who said in response to parliamentary questions that despite previous failures “ things have moved on considerably in the right direction since the appointment of the current director in 2012.”