Macmillan hit with £11m fraud fine

Publishing group Macmillan has been fined more than £11m by the Serious Fraud Office after admitting trying to bribe World Bank officials to win a contract in Sudan.

The SFO imposed the £11.3m fine under the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act, saying MacMillan’s educational division in the region had won tenders by paying bribes and maintaining corrupt relationships.

The practices came to light in an inquiry following a report from the World Bank that a Macmillan agent had tried to bribe people to win a tender to supply educational materials in Southern Sudan.

Macmillan did not win that contract, but had won several other contracts by public tender across both regions of Africa to supply educational materials.

But the publisher worked with the SFO, City of London Police and the World Bank to investigate all public tenders to supply educational materials in the region from 2002 to 2009.

“Such public tender processes were susceptible to improper relationships being formed and corruption taking place. It was impossible to be sure that the awards of tenders to the company in the three jurisdictions were not accompanied by a corrupt relationship,” the SFO said in a statement.

“Accordingly it was plain that the company may have received revenue that had been derived from unlawful conduct.”

Macmillan will pay the £27,000 costs relating to the fine and also paid the costs of the SFO’s investigation.