Publishing giant admits receiving income derived from bribery and consents to £1.9M Civil Recovery Order
A settlement agreement worth nearly £1.9 million has been reached in the serious Fraud Office (sFO)'s High Court action against Oxford University Publishing Limited (OUP). The claim was brought under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).
OUP admitted that between 2007 and 2010 two of its wholly-owned subsidiaries in Africa made a number of payments to government officials in order to secure contracts to supply books to schools and colleges. The matter came to light following an internal investigation at OUP. The company then self-reported.
The African subsidiaries pay dividends and certain fees to OUP. Because of the bribery/corruption such revenue has included money derived from unlawful conduct. It is this money that the sFO deemed to be "recoverable property" and became the subject of the claim. A Civil Recovery Order was agreed by consent.
In addition to the Civil Recovery Order, it is understood that OUP unilaterally offered to contribute £2,000,000 to not-for-profit organisations for teacher training and other educational purposes in sub-saharan Africa.
In a press statement the sFO explained why Part 5 proceedings were preferable to a criminal prosecution in this instance. It stated that the test under the Code for Crown Prosecutors was not met for a number of reasons, including a lack of evidence of board-level connivance in relation to the bribery.
The sFO's statement together with the claim form, consent order and application notice can be found by clicking on the below link.
Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.