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Anti-bribery and corruption

 
 

Anti-bribery and corruption

BAT has a zero tolerance approach and is committed to working against bribery and corruption in all forms. It is wholly unacceptable for Group Companies, Employees or our business partners to be involved or implicated in any way in bribery or other corrupt or criminal practices, including fraud, embezzlement or extortion.

 

What is a bribe?

A bribe includes any gift, payment or other benefit (such as hospitality, kickbacks, a job offer/work placement or investment opportunities) offered in order to secure an advantage (whether personal or business-related). A bribe need not have been paid or received; even the act of offering, asking for or agreeing to accept a bribe is enough.

 

 

You must never offer, promise or give any gift, payment or other benefit to any person (directly or indirectly), including a Public Official, to induce or reward improper conduct or improperly influence, or intend to improperly influence, any decision by any person to our advantage.

 

No facilitation payments

You must not make facilitation payments (directly or indirectly), other than where necessary to protect the health, safety or liberty of any employee.

Facilitation payments are small payments made to smooth or speed up performance by a low-level official of a routine action to which the payer is already entitled. They are illegal in most countries. In some, such as the UK, it is a crime for their nationals to make facilitation payments abroad.

In those exceptional circumstances where there is no safe alternative to payment, we should involve our local LEX Counsel (if possible, before any payment is made). The payment must also be fully documented in the Group company’s books.

A published, well-documented expediting fee paid directly to a government or state-owned enterprise (not an individual) is not typically considered a facilitation payment under anti-corruption laws.

 

No bribery

Bribing a Public Official is a crime in almost every country. In many, it is also a crime to bribe employees or agents engaged in private business (such as our suppliers).

You must never:

  • offer, promise or give any gift, payment or other benefit to any person (directly or indirectly), including a Public Official, to induce or reward improper conduct or improperly influence, or intend to improperly influence, any decision by any person to our improper advantage
  • ask for or accept, agree to accept or receive any gift, payment or other advantage from any person (directly or indirectly) as a reward or inducement for improper conduct or which improperly influences, or gives the impression that it is improperly intended to improperly influence, decisions of the Group

Anti-bribery laws in many countries have extraterritorial effect, so it will be a crime in those countries for their nationals to pay bribes abroad. There are severe potential consequences for breaches of these laws, for both the Group and individuals.

 

Maintaining adequate procedures

Group companies can be held to account for corrupt acts by third party service providers acting on their behalf. Consequently, Group companies are expected to implement and operate controls which ensure that improper payments are not offered, made, asked for or received, by third parties performing services on their behalf.

Controls should include:

  • ‘know your supplier’ and ‘know your customer’ procedures, including the Third Party AFC Procedure, which are all proportionate to the risk involved
  • anti-corruption provisions in contracts with third parties which are appropriate for the level of bribery and corruption risk involved in the service and can result in termination if breached
  • where appropriate, anti-corruption training and support for staff who manage supplier relationships
  • prompt and accurate reporting of the true nature and extent of transactions and expenses
  • applying the M&A Transactions Compliance Procedure to applicable transactions, including possible joint-venture arrangements
 

Books, records and internal controls

Group business records must accurately reflect the true nature and extent of transactions and expenditure. We must maintain internal controls to ensure that financial records and accounts are accurate in accordance with applicable anti-corruption laws and best practices.
 

Who to talk to

  • Your line manager
  • Higher management
  • Your local LEX Counsel
  • Head of Compliance: sobc@bat.com