‘Tis the Season for the Bribery Act

Bribery, money laundering, fraudAs gifts are given and received, with the introduction of the Bermuda Bribery Act 2016, its time to consider the following important questions:

  • Do I need to report the Quality Street? (Not Likely)
  • What about that Goslings 2017 America’s Cup Trophy Rum and Decanter? (Yes, and can I have some?)

The Bermuda Act, like its UK parent, have garnered such praise as being draconian and far-reaching, as they have no de minimums exceptions or allowance.

Although the then Attorney General (AG) Trevor Moniz stated it was not intended for the Act to prohibit “reasonable and proportionate” hospitality and promotional or other similar business expenditure, the guidance does make it clear that hospitality and promotional or other similar business expenditure can be employed as bribes.

Clearly, the more lavish the hospitality (Trophy Rum) or the higher the expenditure in relation to travel, accommodation or other similar business expenditure provided, then, generally, the greater the inference that it is intended to influence the official to grant business or a business advantage in return.  And in the case of a prosecution, they must be able to establish i) a financial or other advantage has been offered, promised or given, and that ii) there is a sufficient connection between the advantage and the intention to influence and secure business or a business advantage.

Generally, hospitality and promotional expenditures which are “reasonable and proportionate” should not cause problems, however, your greatest defense is having an appropriate Bribery Risk Assessment and subsequent policy appropriate to the level of risk your business faces.   As part of this, every business in Bermuda should have a gift register.

As suggested by the AG, your program should include:

    • Top-level commitment
    • Risk Assessment
    • Proportionate procedures
    • Due diligence
    • Communication (including training)
    • Monitoring and review

To learn more about how Oyster Consulting can assist your firm, complete our contact form and one of our associates will be happy to help, or call us at 441.541.5036