TheMIGroup is subject to many different laws around corruption and bribery around the globe, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in the United States, and the Bribery Act in the UK. We are committed to complying with all applicable laws wherever we do business. Accordingly, we have developed an Anti-Bribery Policy intended to set out our commitment to upholding these and other anti-bribery laws in all of our business transactions.
What is the FCPA?
The provisions of the FCPA prohibit the bribery of foreign government officials by U.S. persons and prescribe accounting and record-keeping practices. The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA apply to a U.S. person and make it illegal for U.S. persons to bribe a foreign government official for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Under the FCPA, grease or facilitation payments are permitted. A grease or facilitating payment is a payment made to expedite or secure the performance of a routine government action. Routine government actions include obtaining permits or licenses, processing official papers, clearing goods through Customs, loading and unloading cargo and providing police protection. U.S. persons who are unable to defend their actions in light of the FCPA as it applies to anti-bribery provisions face severe penalties. Penalties for violating the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA vary based on whether the violator is a U.S. company or a U.S. individual. U.S. companies can be fined up to $2 million while U.S. individuals (including officers and directors of companies that have willfully violated the FCPA) can be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned for up to five years, or both. In addition, civil penalties may be imposed. You can learn more about the FCPA here.
What is the Bribery Act?
The Bribery Act is concerned with bribery. Very generally, this is defined as giving someone a financial or other advantage to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities improperly or to reward that person for having already done so. For example, this could include seeking to influence a decision-maker by giving some kind of extra benefit to that decision maker rather than by what can legitimately be offered as part of a tender process.
Facilitation payments, which are payments to induce officials to perform routine functions they are otherwise obligated to perform, are bribes, and are therefore forbidden under the Bribery Act.
Violations of the Bribery Act 2010 include a potentially unlimited fine and up to ten years’ imprisonment for individuals who are found guilty of serious offences under Section 1 (bribing), 2 (being bribed) and 6 (bribing a foreign public official) and a similarly unlimited fine for any company or partnership that is convicted of an offence under Section 7 (negligently failing to prevent bribery).
You can learn more about the UK’s Bribery Act here.
Given the complex international environment in which we operate, it can be understandably confusing to know when various laws apply. Given that the UK Bribery Act is the most stringent and comprehensive piece of legislation, TheMIGroup’s position is that we will apply the principles of the UK Bribery Act across all regions in which we do business. In other words, facilitation and grease payments are not to be made in any country, for any purpose.
Our Expectations of our Employees
This policy is applicable to all employees of TheMIGroup. High ethical standards and integrity are the core of our culture and way of doing business. Our reputation, values, and ethics will not be compromised.
A TheMIGroup employee who consciously disregards or deliberately ignores suspicious circumstances suggesting that an agent or consultant may be planning to bribe, can be deemed to have “knowledge” sufficient for a violation. In short, our employees are expected to seek advice before authorizing any payment, should they have any doubt or concern that this may potentially serve as a bribe.
Any employee who does not comply with these standards is acting outside the scope of her/his employment with TheMIGroup and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which could include termination and loss of employee benefits to the extent permitted by applicable law.
We believe that obeying the law is always good business, and always in the best interests of our customers and our shareholders.