Transparency International, the world’s leading non-governmental, anti-corruption organisation, has issued draft guidance for consultation on the Bribery Act and its impact on standard due diligence procedures during M&A activity.
The guidance is intended to provide a practical tool for companies wishing to undertake anti-bribery due diligence in the course of mergers, acquisitions and investment. It highlights the importance of recognising that taking a “best practice” approach in this area is a good way to manage the risks presented by the Bribery Act offences. These are identified as:
- Legal: for example, the purchaser or investor may incur liability, leading to fines and regulatory action;
- Financial: for example, the target’s sales figures may be inflated by contracts obtained through bribe-paying;
- Reputational: for example, the purchaser may find that, due to publicity surrounding a poor acquisition, it is regarded as a less favourable partner or investment vehicle by others, including institutional investors.
Responses from all stakeholders are welcomed until the closing date, 15 September 2011.
A copy of the consultation can be found here: http://www.transparency.org.uk/publications/250-ti-uk-due-diligence-consultation/download