Oxford Publishing Ltd is to pay almost £1.9 million as settlement after admitting unlawful conduct in its East African operations.
The fine followed the company self-reporting concerns in 2011 and is not dissimilar to the settlement secured by Macmillan Publishing which also related to the supply of educational books to African countries in contracts involving the World Bank.
The settlement marks the first enforcement action by the new SFO Director, David Green QC who commented, “This settlement demonstrates that there are, in appropriate cases, clear and sensible solutions available to those who self-report issues of this kind to the authorities. The use of Civil Recovery powers has been exercised in accordance with the Attorney General's guidelines. The company will be adopting new business practices to prevent a recurrence of these issues and these new procedures will be subject to an extensive and detailed review."
The settlement does though mirror those concluded by his successor Richard Alderman in a number of earlier cases. Mr Green has indicated however that the SFO will revert to being a more robust enforcement agency, and the next 12 months may therefore be an interesting period in the agency’s history.
Jeremy Summers is a Business Crime & Regulation Law Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers. Call freephone 0808 175 8000 or contact us online and we will call you.