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A co-ordinated drive by western Governments to clamp down on corruption is raising the stakes for companies that breach international ethical standards, Norton Rose litigation partner Sam Eastwood has warned in the fifth of a series of legalweek.com videos on crisis management.

Speaking in the latest episode of Legal Week Crisis Management Q&A in association with Norton Rose, Eastwood (pictured) says that a series of cases are putting the spotlight on anti-corruption measures.

In recent weeks Balfour Beatty has struck an agreement with the Serious Fraud Office to pay £2.25m to settle bribery allegations over a £100m overseas contract, while Siemens has announced that it has set aside approximately E1bn (£850m) for settlements relating to ongoing corruption investigations.

In May, BAE Systems pledged to implement a series of recommendations published by the Woolf Committee Report, which investigated practices at the defence giant.

Eastwood says the report sets a benchmark against which other companies will inevitably be expected to assess their own procedures.

He adds that the commitment to fight corruption needs to extend beyond company handbooks.

“The real challenge is to implement and embed the culture and the values of the company all of which are set out in those manuals, and that really takes demonstrable commitment from the top of the organisation,” he says.

Eastwood highlights joint ventures, the use of intermediaries and agents and facilitation payments for routine government actions as potential corruption flashpoints for companies doing business abroad.

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