Norton Rose creates anti-corruption group

<a class=Norton Rose creates anti-corruption group” />Norton Rose is launching an anti-corruption and business ethics group to tackle clients’ increasing focus on reducing their exposure to anti-fraud legislation.

The firmwide initiative, spearheaded by disputes partner Sam Eastwood, will cover eight jurisdictions in Europe, the Far East and the Middle East.

Eastwood said clients were unaware of what action needed to be taken in light of US anti-corruption law extending ;outside ;the ­borders of the US.

“We felt the initiative was needed also due to ­businesses wanting to know their position after the Woolf report into BAE ­Systems,” said Eastwood. “Clients want to know how BAE implementing the changes to their ethics will impact on them and what they have to do.”

Last May Lord Woolf ­recommended that there should be annual independent audits of BAE’s business processes to ensure they met the highest ethical ­standards. This recently led to BAE appointing Deloitte as an external monitor.

Eastwood added that the use of external monitors would increase, adding that they were used to look into financial irregularities at construction group Balfour Beatty earlier this month.

“Lawyers are at the heart of running and maintaining contracts, audits and investigations, so are well-placed to prepare clients for this,” said Eastwood. “Accountants are moving into this space and we need to ensure that they don’t take our clients.”

James Bagge, who retired from Norton Rose earlier this year (The Lawyer, 21 April), will act as a consultant in the new group to help the firm’s international ;litigators get up-to-speed on anti-­corruption laws.