First conviction under section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010

The Sweett Group plc became the first company to be convicted under section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010. Sweett Group pleaded guilty to failing to prevent an act of bribery, and was fined £1.4 million. In addition, a confiscation order totalling £851,152.23 and an order for prosecution costs of £95,031 were made.

Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 has always been the most controversial part, criminalising companies for failing to act, rather than being complicit in bribery. The offence contains a statutory defence of having “adequate procedures to prevent bribery”. However, this case provides no further guidance on the extent to which procedures are deemed to be adequate.