Let Down By An Untrustworthy Employee? You Are Not Powerless!

It is a sad truth that employees cannot always be trusted not to give in to temptation – however, if the worst happens, the law is there to help. In one case which illustrated the point, the High Court came to the aid of a company which suspected a senior staff member of receiving bribes, commissions and secret profits totalling about £1 million.

The man had been employed as a procurement manager by the company, a major player in the house building industry, for more than a decade. It was alleged that he had misappropriated and misused confidential information and taken kickbacks from subcontractors who were anxious to do business with the company.

Following investigations, the company had indentified large sums of money flowing through the man’s bank accounts and that of a company of which he was the sole director. He was said to have paid over £450,000 to his wife and parents and to have used a private email account to further his nefarious activities. It was noted that the man appeared to be living a lifestyle far beyond that which his salary would permit and that some of the relevant funds had been received from a firm which had been awarded substantial contracts by the company.

The man and his company denied any wrongdoing. However, after an emergency hearing at which only the company was represented, an asset freezing order was issued against them. Following a further hearing, at which lawyers for all parties appeared, the Court extended that order in somewhat modified form.

The Court found that there was a real risk of further dissipation of the relevant funds and that it was just and convenient to continue the order. The man and his company were also directed to disclose certain documents in order to ascertain the extent of the alleged wrongdoing.