In the right hands, a well-crafted negotiated settlement agreement can be an extremely powerful tool which enables both the Multilateral Development Bank to discharge its obligations on the one hand and the company to continue doing business on the other. Such agreements are multi-faceted and it is absolutely essential that those charged with negotiating them have the knowledge, standing and relationships of trust, in place in order to achieve agreement. Yet that is only the first step, for any NRA is only as strong as the ability to deliver what is expected under that agreement. This is an area where early engagement with expert, specialist lawyers can yield significant results by providing direction and insulation in the face of substantial threats to business continuity, reputations, and of cross-debarment by other MDBs and referrals to national law enforcement or prosecutors.
Voluntary Disclosure Programmes
A number of the Multilateral Development Banks run Voluntary Disclosure Programmes (‘VDPs’) and experience demonstrates that participation by companies in these programmes can be an extraordinarily effective and beneficial way for companies to grapple with sanctionable practices. Whilst there are conditions to entry and not all companies will qualify, VDPs can enable companies willing to adopt a proactive approach, to turn their circumstances to their advantage. For example, where it emerges that a company has paid a bribe on an MDB-funded contract, the damage of this might be mitigated or even vitiated through self-reporting into a VDP. However, the stakes are high, so expert advice and guidance is essential before embarking on this approach. Whilst the identities of the participants in such VDPs remain confidential, the lawyers at Bretton Woods Law are privileged to possess the necessary experience and insight in order to advise on, and broker entry into, such programmes.