SFO has entered into a DPA with Airline Services Limited, following an investigation into failure to prevent bribery. SFO reports that, under the terms of the DPA, the company accepts responsibility for three counts of failing to prevent bribery. It used an agent to win three contracts to refit commercial airliners for Lufthansa. The agent used his position working for Lufthansa to provide a competitive advantage to ASL in the tendering process.
ASL had appointed a number of agents to help it secure business, and many of them had signed agreements with it, setting out the basis on which they would earn commission. SFO’s case was that, on three specific occasions all between July 2011 and November 2013, ASL failed to prevent a person associated with it from committing bribery in circumstances in which they intended to obtain or retain business and/or an advantage in the conduct of business for ASL by:
- promising or giving the agent between 5-10% of the value of any contracts awarded to ASL by Lufthansa; and
- intending thereby to induce the agent, who was an employee or agent of Lufthansa, to perform a relevant function or activity improperly, namely, showing favour to ASL in the tender process for, and performance of, an agreement it entered into with Lufthansa.
ASL, which, is now dormant, fully self-reported to SFO in 2015, and will remain in existence to fulfil the terms of the DPA. The DPA requires overall payment of nearly £3m, of which nearly a third represents disgorgement of profits.
SFO says ASL had engaged lawyers to advise it on compliance with the Bribery Act in December 2010, and the lawyers had made several recommendations and draft documentation. ASL senior management also underwent training in June 2011, but in September, ASL informed its lawyers that it would be adopting “a different approach”. It appeared that no guidelines or policy were communicated to staff, and that no further recommendations the lawyers had made were implemented. As a result, ASL did not have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery from 1 July 2011 – early 2015.