The hidden burden of the general counsel role

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  • Paul as you may have gathered I have a particular interest n the Bribery Act.
    Due Diligence and compliance procedures have placed a whole new burden on general counsel, which in some ways they may welcome as a challenge, it being something very new and very different, but the downside is a potential nightmare.
    Discovery of suspicious activity in a proposed commercial partner may well lead GC to advise dropping the deal. Not popular.
    Discovery of actual bribery within the group, or by a subsidiary, (hence potential section 7 liability) is worse.
    I try to imagine the grief that GC's will go through when advising the board of either their possible personal liability under Sec 14, or worse still, and possibly both, having to consider self-reporting before the Feds arrive, especially if there is a USA dimension, and possible FCPA proceedings as well.
    I can't help wondering just how many GC's are fully aware of all the implications. I doubt that many will have problems identifying the correct advice, but the pressures on them thereafter to follow it through, or not, - may be intense.

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