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Braid settles £2.2m bribery case

8th Apr 2016
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Glasgow logistics group Braid has reached a £2.2m settlement with the Crown Office after an internal probe of the company's finances revealed bribery within their organisation.

In a statement Braid Logistics (UK), part of the global Braid Group, said it had discovered “potentially dishonest activities” in connection to two freight contracts dating back to 2012.

Braid's investigation revealed evidence that a member of staff had set up an account used by a customer employee. This account was then used to pay unauthorised expenses, funded by the artificial inflation of invoices provided to the customer. These expenses included holidays, hotels and cash.

The second case, uncovered following the discovery of the first, involved a profit-sharing arrangement which was set up to reward the director of a client company for placing orders with Braid.

When it became evident that the cases breached the Bribery Act 2010, which makes it illegal for British companies to obtain business through bribery, the company terminated the employment of those involved and reported themselves to the Crown Office.

Braid’s cooperation with the authorities meant the case was dealt with on a civil rather than criminal basis, and it was announced earlier this week that the company had agreed to pay £2.2m after accepting it had obtained business through unlawful conduct. The settlement is based on the gross profit made in relation to the contracts.

‘Unauthorised actions of a small number of individuals’

Commenting on the case, Alasdair Davidson, Braid Logistics group finance director said: “The activities uncovered in this case were the unauthorised actions of a small number of individuals who are no longer employed by the company.

“Braid UK's rapid and thorough response to these pursuits, and the wholesale changes we have now made in our company's systems led to our case being conducted on civil grounds.”

Davidson went on to state that the Civil Recovery Unit had commended Braid for self-reporting the misdemeanours, and assured the company’s customers that the group has emerged stronger from this incident, “with more robust processes and procedures in place”.

The processes include a new management team and structure in the UK, anti-bribery training for employees and tighter policies involving client gifts, entertainment and expenses.

“The payment of this fine now draws a line under the civil case,” concluded Davidson.

In a statement issued to AccountingWEB, the Crown Office commented that it was not possible to give further details of the event in case any criminal investigations of individuals involved arose, but stated that the funds raised from the settlement would go towards community projects across Scotland.

What anti-corruption measures would recommend for your business or clients? Is there such a thing as fool-proof structure, or will we always be susceptible to human vice?

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