The U.K. Serious Fraud Office this week confirmed that Sweett Group, a British property management, construction and surveying company, admitted to violating the Bribery Act, regarding conduct in the Middle East.
“Further details will be made available when the matter comes before court, at a date still to be determined,” the SFO said. The resolution would mark the SFO’s first conviction since enactment of the Bribery Act in 2011.
As Compliance Week previously reported, the SFO last year said it had opened an investigation into Sweett Group “in relation to its activities in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere.” SFO launched the investigation after allegations surfaced that a former Sweett Group employee allegedly offered to award a design contract to architecture firm HLW International for a hospital being built in Morocco, if the firm agreed to pay a bribe to a United Arab Emirates official, who was funding the project.
The charges come in the same week that the SFO reached its first deferred prosecution agreement in a bribery case. ICBC Standard Bank will pay a total of $32.6 million in fines and repayments of bribery payments resulting from allegations of bribery in Tanzania, and another $4.2 million to resolve charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.