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Lewis Nedas Law are London-based solicitors. Frequently rated in both Chambers UK and The Legal 500, we can help you or your business today. Tel: 020 7387 2032.
NOV
18

8 Out of 10 UK Managers Operating Overseas Forced to use Bribery

A 12-year study has found that over 85% of UK managers operating abroad in emerging markets are involved with bribery on a monthly basis.

The study, carried out by Henley Business School, also found that 80% of board level executives are aware of the practice, but that very little can be done to stop it. The inquiry was carried out over a 12 year period, beginning in 2004, and is based on private “intimate” conversations with the executives, ranging from general managers to chief executives, of more than 1000 businesses operating internationally, of which more than 10% were UK based.

Struggling to Combat Bribery

According to Andrew Kakabadse, professor of governance and leadership at Henley Business School, the report originally began as an exercise to help coach and support high-level business individuals struggling with aspects of their employment. “However,” he added, “it quickly became apparent that a key obstacle was dealing with everyday fraud, bribery and corruption.”

The study has drawn from research in Australia, Belgium, China, Finland, Georgia, Germany, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Sweden. It also found that bribery was costing the organisations in question some 5% of their annual revenue on average.

The report noted that bribery was so institutionalised in some markets that it had been informed of instances where agents would try and ‘out-bid’ each other by asking for lower bribes – usually a percentage of the contract’s value and often up to 10% – to ensure a company would engage them over competitors.

Mr Kakabadse stated that while the stiff penalties contained in laws like the UK’s Bribery Act and the US’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act “bring fear to boards”, they have also created a class of “fall guys”.

“Many boards are following the act but know bribery is a fact of life lower down the company, the people on the ground,” he added. “It is the managing directors and general managers in country… who are being forced to give bribes to win business. These are good people being forced to do bad things. Boards are doing worse than paying lip service to anti-corruption laws because they are using them to protect themselves while they know bribery is going on.”

The study found no specific sector or area which was particularly susceptible or likely to indulge in bribery and Mr Kakabadse expressed surprise that only 85% of managers had admitted to using bribes. These findings stand in sharp contrast to PwC’s recent global economic crime survey which found that 18% of senior management was involved in crime, including accounting fraud, while 80% of senior executives admitted to having seen such corrupt practices.

Mr Kakabadse reported that many of the managers in question felt that bribery was the only option if they wished to remain competitive in these emerging markets, with the only other option being to withdraw from the market completely. In other words, “if they didn’t pay-up to achieve their organisation’s objectives, then their competitors certainly would.” Working in foreign markets naturally means adopting local practices, and when that country or market is deeply corrupt, the only alternative to corrupt business is no business. It is therefore somewhat unsurprising that many companies have chosen to turn a blind eye, giving tacit permission to their subordinates. Commenting on the report, Michael Littlechild, director of GoodCorporation, the anti-corruption and business ethics advisor, observed that it starkly illuminates the difficulties faced by companies operating in emerging markets. He added: “Many large international organisations give explicit instructions to staff to refuse bribes and some have pulled out of countries where the risk is too great (…) Those that have ignored the law have faced huge fines.”

Severe Penalties

If any of these “fall guys” or the companies who employ them are found guilty of an offence under the Bribery Act 2010 the consequences can be severe. Section 11 of the Act provides for a potentially unlimited fine and up to ten year’s imprisonment for individuals found guilty of serious bribery offences and a similarly unlimited fine for any company or partnership who fail to prevent such bribery from happening.

A criminal conviction also triggers the power to impose a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This order will almost always be applied for after a conviction unless there are compelling reasons not to do so. It is designed to prevent offenders from benefitting from the crime they have committed and forces those convicted of an offence to pay a sum of money equal to the ‘benefit’ they received as a result of the bribe.

If the defendant cannot be brought to trial, has been acquitted, or where there is insufficient evidence to obtain a criminal conviction, a Civil Recovery Order can be applied for. Being a civil claim, the agency bringing the claim (for bribery the Serious Fraud Office) need only establish criminal activity and that the funds it is seeking to recover are the proceeds of that crime. This is a lower standard of proof than in a criminal case. There are clear advantages to using this procedure for both parties as, if they settle (which they typically do), the resulting settlement will be confidential and will not result in a criminal conviction.

It seems likely that the companies in question see the possibility of such measures as par for the course and a worthy price to pay for the opportunity of working in these emerging markets. It also seems to demonstrate an almost foolhardy faith in not getting caught, or in being able to lay the blame squarely at the door of a subordinate and walk away scot free.

Lewis Nedas Financial Crime Lawyers, London

Lewis Nedas Law are London-based solicitors, frequently rated in both Chambers UK and The Legal 500. With over 30 years’ experience as specialist solicitors in central London, UK, we can help you or your business today. on 020 7387 2032 Please contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or contact us online.

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NOV
17

Can you claim HS2 compensation?

hs2Here at Lewis Nedas we can process your potential claim for a ‘Blight Notice’ with the High Speed Two Limited (HS2).

In accordance with current statutory powers, certain home owners in specifically designated zones next to the proposed HS2 line are entitled to statutory compensation should they serve a Blight Notice.

A Blight Notice can only be made in compliance with various criteria which we have expertise in reviewing and assisting with. If successful, a home owner is potentially eligible to make claim with HS2, a non-departmental body of the Department for Transport which would ultimately be for the sale value of their home at an agreed market price and an additional pay-out of statutory compensation including payment for home-moving expenses.

During the course of this specialist conveyancing, we would assist you in processing your claim with HS2 and work with your independently appointed surveyor to guide you through the legal process for the statutory sale.

We would be particularly interested in speaking to you if you are a residential or business owner with property located for at least the last 6 months in the following locations within the Camden area:-

(i) Nash House and Park Village East

(ii) Mornington Terrace

(iii) Delancey Street

(iv) Clarkson Row

(v) 1-60 Eskdale

(vi) 1-39 Ainsdale 

(vii) Silverdale

(viii) Vardnell Street

(ix) Hampstead Road

(x) Cardington Street

(xi) Melton Street

(xii) Eversholt Street

(xiii) Coburg Street

(xiv) Varndell Street

(xv) Euston Square

(xvi) Barnby Street

 

Please note the above list of streets is by no means definitive of the potentially blighted HS2 blight zones.

Please call Richard Greenby on direct dial  020 7691 4560 to discuss matters in greater detail.

Alternatively, please email on rgreenby@lewisnedas.co.uk for a free initial review of your property claim.

   

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NOV
16

John Alford interviewed by French TV Channel 6

mazer mahmoodThe actor John Alford and his solicitor Siobhain Egan were both filmed and interviewed by French TV channel 6, for their current affairs program 66 Minutes, about the activities (and conviction) of Mazer Mahmood aka 'The Fake Sheikh'.

 

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NOV
11

The Property Update; November Newsletter

black and white housesThe Lewis Nedas Property Newsletter is back!

We took a break over the Summer and the early Autumn, to assess the ramifications of the Brexit vote and its effect on the Housing Market. It is still far too early to say what the true effects are, because there have been so many other variables to consider (the drop in the pound being one such major variable). It's accurate to say that the market is much quieter and price growth is much reduced.

The London prime markets, i.e. Zones 1 and 2, have however seen a marked reduction in prices, a record average drop of over £100,000!

Fewer people are able to buy property; in fact the number of under 35’s who are property owners has decreased by 1/3 since 2011, to 334,000 this year. The U.K is now outside Europe’s top 20 countries for house sales.

 

Buy to Let Market

It's plain that there are issues on the horizon for buy to let investors; they will see less tax relief and less mortgage availability the supply of housing is on a rising curve and rents are increasingly unaffordable.

Additionally those BTL landlords who used a supposed loophole, which appeared to allow landlords (before the increase in SDLT in April this year) to transfer properties into limited companies in an attempt to avoid the increase in tax, are likely to come to the attention of HMRC.

Such a device is likely to fall foul of HMRC and tax avoidance legislation, and could easily attract allegations of both tax and mortgage fraud. It is anticipated that HMRC would assume that such transfers to limited companies were artificial structures.

 

Residential Property

We have seen the usual contradictory reports about the market - the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) report that confidence in the housing market is back to pre- Brexit levels and an increase in demand in September 2016, though in the same month mortgage approvals were markedly reduced (by 15%) when compared with September 2015.

There was also a slight dip in the number of residential properties coming onto the market, again when compared with last year.

Sales of homes are now taking longer than in 2015, in fact they are taking an additional month longer and it can take 91 days to secure a sale.

John Lewis report that new build / newly converted properties in this country are now the smallest properties in Europe, and are on average 92% of the recommended size.

Property Partners latest research suggests that it would take the average Londoner on an average salary of £34,000 faces a period of 121 years before they could afford to save the average necessary deposit to buy a property in London, if they are unable to rely upon the bank of Mum and Dad.

The drastic fall in the value of the pound has attracted increased foreign interest in the London market, but the canny US/Chinese/Middle Eastern potential purchasers would appear to be hanging back to see if any further falls in the pounds value would benefit them more.

Certainly they would also seem to be casting their nets wider than the prime London zones 1 and 2.

Those areas likely to be affected (or benefited by) Crossrail and HS2 are also of increasing interest, in particular to shrewd Chinese investors.

Additionally we have noticed that foreign investors have computed that because of the increased SDLT, it makes more economic sense to buy a number of smaller flats in areas such as Colindale and Hendon, rather than pay the same amount of SDLT upon the sale of one larger property.

Our specialist property lawyers have also dealt with a large increase in clients seeking advice about potential compensation as a result of HS2 expansion - Our very own Richard Greenby (rgreenby@lewisnedas.co.uk) is the lawyer to contact in that issue.

This brings us neatly to the issue of the Third Heathrow Runway expansion, recently given the official go ahead by government.

According to reports this is likely to depreciate the value of properties in the area by 20%, some 783 homes are expected to be demolished. It is said, that government are prepared to pay a purchase price of 125% of the value of the property together with stamp duty and related fees, the likely cost of which is rumoured to be in the sum of £1.5bn.

It is also said to offer a potential boost to the construction industry to the tune of £18bn.

 

Commercial Property

Again this sector is experiencing some major changes, a great many investors have removed themselves from this market.

The 'gig' economy is also have a huge effect on the market, Young flexible companies do not wish to tie themselves up with lengthy commercial leases of 20 years, instead the average lease is now about 7 years and likely to reduce further.

Business centres that offer office facilities are increasingly in demand and are proving to be a lucrative investment.

 

Equity Release

This sector is still booming away and has increased by 1/3 over the last 12 months.

An interesting demographic change in the type of Equity Release applicants has revealed increasing demand not just those from the lower socio- economic demographic but also those who on paper would certainly appear to be wealthier (with properties worth £1 million plus) but who have reduced incomes.

 

If you require an advice / assistance with any of the above issues, please contact our specialist and highly skilled property lawyers on 020 7387 2032 or use our enquiry facility on www.lewisnedas.co.uk

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NOV
09

Lewis Nedas Law ranked in Chambers UK 2017, for both Crime and Financial Crime

chambers logoWe are delighted to announce that once again we have been ranked by Chambers and Partners UK for both Crime and Financial Crime.

The 2017 official rankings have described Lewis Nedas Law as "holding their own and shining through".

Jeffrey Lewis has been singled out for particularly high praise in both areas and described as "hugely experienced, creative and tenacious". 

  

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Accreditations
and Awards

legal 500 uk leading firm 2017 chambers leading firm 2017