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Voluntary Disclosure Programme

Voluntary Disclosure Programmes

By | Bribery, Corruption, Cross debarment, Multilateral Development Banks, News, Voluntary Disclosure Programme | No Comments

If you are a company that is seeking to escape the downward spiral of paying bribes or engaging in fraud on projects financed by the multilateral development banks (“MDBs” or “IFIs”), such as the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank, then entry into a voluntary disclosure programme (“VDP”) might well be the answer.

VDPs are often used by enforcement agencies around the world in order to gather intelligence to aid in the global fight against corruption and fraud.  Companies, individuals and other entities who are or who have been paying bribes with the intention of inter alia influencing the award of contracts are encourage by the terms and conditions of the programme to come forward and self-report their respective wrongdoings.  The incentive for self-reporting under an established VDP is that the organisation that operates the programme will not normally sanction the participant for disclosed misconduct and will keep the identity of the participant confidential.  The benefit to the organisation is self-evident, for it will discover information about corruption and fraud on projects that it is connected with from the participant that it might otherwise have been unaware of.  Although the participant will not face sanction for its disclosures, the information that it provides will assist the organisation in pursuing cases against other bribe payers, bribe recipients and fraudsters.

Of the five major MDBs (i.e., the Asian Development Bank (“ADB”), the African Development Bank (“AfDB”), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (“EBRD”), the Inter American Development Bank (“IADB”) and the World Bank Group), only the World Bank Group operates a fully functioning, transparent and well established VDP; although the other MDBs, and most notably the ADB, have systems in place that encourage and reward self-reporting.  The World Bank Group launched its VDP in 2006 and its  accompanying Guidelines for Participants.

In order to enter the World Bank’s VDP, a participant must not be under active investigation by the Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (“INT”) and it must agree to:

  •  co-operate fully with the World Bank;
  • desist from any further engagement in sanctionable practices on World Bank financed projects, such as corruption, fraud, collusion or coercion;
  • investigate at its expense all World Bank funded contracts in which it has participated in the past five years and to disclose the results of those investigations to INT; and
  • implement at its expense a robust internal compliance programme that meets the requirements of the Bank’s Integrity Compliance Guidelines and to subject that programme to monitoring for a period of three years by a Bank-approved Compliance Monitor.

In exchange for its full co-operation, the VDP participant enjoys:

  • immunity from sanction on disclosed misconduct;
  • anonymity
  • the ability to continue to bid on World Bank financed projects.

A participant that continues to engage in misconduct after entering the VDP or otherwise materially violates the programme’s terms and conditions will be debarred by the World Bank for a ten year period, which means that during the currency of the debarment the participant will be (a) prevented from bidding on World Bank financed projects; and (b) cross-debarred by those Multilateral Development Banks that have signed and implemented the April 2010 Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions (“the Cross-Debarment Accord”.

How Bretton Woods Law Can Assist You

Bretton Woods Law lawyers have established expertise in the VDP operated by the World Bank Group and understand fully the modalities of self-reporting to other Multilateral Development Banks, such as the ADB, which welcome self-reporting, but which do not as yet have a functioning and transparent programme. Bretton Woods Law handles for its clients all aspects of entry into and participation in the VDP or other forms of self-reporting.  From first contact with the banks through to the fulfilment of all VDP obligations, Bretton Woods Law lawyers have established and verifiable experience.  In particular, Bretton Woods Law lawyers:

  • will conduct all the necessary internal investigations to a standard that meets and exceeds the bar set by the World Bank; and
  • will design and, if necessary, implement an integrity compliance program that has previously been described as “gold-standard” by the World Bank’s Integrity Compliance Officer (“ICO”).

For further information about how Bretton Woods Law can assist you in moving away from corruption in a protected manner, please contact your nearest office or email us at enquiries@brettonwoodslaw.com.

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Bretton Woods Law celebrates its first successful year based on experience in and knowledge of International Organisations Law

By | Administrative Law, Centre of Excellence, IAL, International Administrative Law, Multilateral Development Banks, News, Voluntary Disclosure Programme | No Comments

Bretton Woods Law today celebrates its first birthday, a year that has seen innumerable achievements in both the Multilateral Development Bank and International Administrative Law sectors, where it now dominates.

Multilateral Development Banks

Although Bretton Woods Law is one today, the experience of its lawyers spans decades and it is hardly surprising that in its first year its multilateral development bank practice has absolutely flourished.  Bretton Woods Law specialises primarily in assisting companies that have been accused or charged by the multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank Group, of having engaged in sanctionable practices (i.e., fraud, corruption, collusion or coercion) on bank funded projects.  Bretton Woods Law’s record in the past twelve months has been impressive and warrants mention: three complete immunity arrangements brokered, one caveated immunity arrangement obtained, five completed internal investigations undertaken and instructions to undertake seven more.  Moreover, advice has been given on entering a voluntary disclosure programme and a complete new integrity compliance program that meets and exceeds the World Bank’s Integrity Compliance Guidelines was designed, implemented and accepted as “gold standard” by the bank.  Not a bad achievement for the first year!

Bretton Woods Law has an in-depth understanding of the Voluntary Disclosure Programme established by the World Bank, the only Multilateral Development Bank to do so, and has spent its first year advising clients on such preventative measures.

To read more about Voluntary Disclosure Programmes and how Bretton Woods Law can be of assistance, please click here

International Administrative Law

As specialists in International Administrative Law, which is the employment law of the international organisations, Bretton Woods Law has spent the past year representing International Civil Servants around the globe that are or have been in dispute with their respective international organisations.  Their experience and knowledge of this particular area of law is second to none and has seen them undertake cases throughout the world, not only for Staff Associations and their membership, but also for the international organisations themselves.  Bretton Woods Law is currently working on international administrative law matters in the following international organisations:

International Administrative Law Seminars

Bretton Woods Law’s commitment to improving International Administrative Law has led them in their first year to hold three International Administrative Law seminars of their own (two in Geneva and one in Washington) and on top of this Bretton Woods Law lawyers were invited to participate in the UNSO-ICTY sponsored conference in The Hague.  The Geneva and Washington seminars were designed to enable Staff Associations and their members to get together and debate the hot topics associated with this law.  The seminars gave attendees a chance to share their experiences, good and bad, of international administrative law as well as benefiting from free advice and consultancy from International Administrative Law specialists.

Overview of our Washington seminar

Overview of our first Geneva seminar

Overview of our second Geneva seminar

International Administrative Law Centre of Excellence

It has been very clear for a long time that International Administrative Law was in desperate need of an independent body to assist in its global development and improvement and with this in mind Bretton Woods Law set up the International Administrative Law Centre of Excellence.  This Centre of Excellence has been created to act as an effective ‘think tank’ from which new and thought provoking ideas and concepts will emerge, alongside promoting international best practices, to enhance and significantly improve the employment law of international organisations worldwide.  Through the work of its membership, the Centre’s mandate and purpose is to be an effective focal point, ensuring fairness and justice for all who work within international organisations.

The Centre of Excellence is open to anyone involved in International Administrative Law: legal practitioners, union representatives, mediators, ombudspersons and academics, in fact anyone who wants to become engaged in the evolution of the law.

To apply for membership click here

A Truly International Practice

When Bretton Woods Law opened its doors it had four full time lawyers working on multilateral development bank and international administrative law matters, with other lawyers on call, but the uptake on its services has been such that it has now been joined full time by two further international lawyers: Alex Haines from France and Antje Kunst from Germany.  The multilingual Bretton Woods Law team, speaking English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, and led by Lee Marler and Neil Macaulay, is even more effective now than it was twelve months ago.

Moreover, when Bretton Woods Law opened for business, it was from the outset an international law practice, with offices in London, Geneva, New York and Washington DC. However, due to the quantity of work they are receiving from the Philippines, they have now opened an office in Manila.  This new office is a true testament to what Bretton Woods Law has achieved in its first year and more importantly what it hopes to achieve in its second.

 

For full contact details for Bretton Woods Law’s offices, please click here.