New guidance from TI on countering requests for small bribes
On 26 June 2014, Transparency International (“TI”) published new guidance for companies on how to deal with requests for small bribes such as facilitation payments.
The guidance, “Countering Small Bribes: Principles and good practice guidance for dealing with small bribes including facilitation payments”, reviews the occasions where such bribes may be requested and the challenges faced in dealing with them. It also offers advice on how to counter such requests, including identifying the risks that small bribes will be demanded or paid, demonstrating a commitment to a policy of eliminating small bribes, ensuring such a policy is communicated to employees and the practical steps that can be taken to resist a demand where it is considered safe to do so.
Countering small bribes remains a complex challenge for companies. Research conducted by TI has revealed that small bribes are most often demanded from employees travelling alone overseas, across borders or where goods are in transit through customs. In many countries they are still regarded as a legitimate way for administrative officials to supplement their income.
The guidance includes advice on assessing risk, examples and case studies, a review of the different approaches taken by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) and under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), and a self-assessment checklist designed to prompt thought about the possible issues to consider when developing a policy to counter the issue of small bribes.
TI’s guidance is available here.
Sunday Times alleges that individual linked to Qatari World Cup bid bribed FIFA officials
An individual linked to the campaign to bring the World Cup to Qatar is alleged to have paid bribes to a number of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”) members, according to an investigation by the Sunday Times.
The 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar following a vote by FIFA executive committee members in 2010. The Sunday Times has reported that Mohamed Bin Hammam was the “mastermind of an extraordinary covert campaign” and arranged for bribes to be paid to FIFA members using slush funds and backhand agreements to seek to secure support for Qatar's bid.
The scale of the bribery by Mr Bin Hammam is said to have been extensive. To date, the Sunday Times has alleged that Mr Bin Hammam provided cash hand outs and transferred sums of up to $200,000 to the bank accounts of FIFA members to seek to secure Qatar’s success at the vote. Furthermore, former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner is also alleged to have received a total of $450,000 from Mr Bin Hammam prior to submitting his vote on where the 2022 competition would be hosted. Mr Warner resigned from FIFA due to previous unrelated allegations of bribery and corruption in 2011 and resigned as Minister for Security for Trinidad and Tobago last year.
Hassan al-Thawadi, the former chief executive of the Qatar bid, said that "Mohamed Bin Hammam is his own man; he and Qatar '22 are completely independent and separate."
In light of the allegations, calls for Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, to quit appear to be stronger than ever and FIFA has come under increasing pressure to re-run the vote for hosting the 2022 World Cup. Mr Blatter has characterised the allegations against FIFA, seemingly in relation to the claims of corruption by African FIFA members, as being motivated by “discrimination and racism”.