Agents, intermediaries or other third parties


If you believe that there is an increased risk of your suppliers using agents, intermediaries or other third parties, and you wish to include this topic in the annex to your Code of Conduct, you can add the following requirements to your Code of Conduct by clicking on "Save to clipboard".

Indirect bribery via third parties such as agents, lobbyists, consultants or sales representatives is one of the most sensitive topics in the anti-corruption debate, and is considered to be one of the most difficult issues to address. 

Agents, intermediaries and other third parties

With respect to Third Parties subject to the control or determining influence of the supplier, including but not limited to agents, business development consultants, sales representatives, customs agents, general consultants, resellers, subcontractors, franchisees, lawyers, accountants or similar intermediaries, acting on the supplier’s behalf in connection with marketing or sales, the negotiation of contracts, the obtaining of licenses, permits or other authorizations, or any actions that benefit the supplier or as subcontractors in the supply chain, suppliers should:

a) Instruct them neither to engage nor to tolerate that they engage in any act of corruption;

b) Not use them as a conduit for any corrupt practice;

c) Hire them only to the extent appropriate for the regular conduct of the supplier’s business; and

d) Not pay them more than an appropriate remuneration for their legitimate services.

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Below there is further information on various aspects of cooperation with agents, intermediaries or other third parties:

Inappropriate use of agents, intermediaries and other third parties

It is common practice for companies to engage with local agents and consultants as part of their activities in overseas markets. Often, companies select their agents based on the agents' knowledge of local business and negotiation culture, and because the agents have a good local network.

In this context, the problem with agents is that their local knowledge may also include a tradition for the person responsible for placing the order to receive a "commission" in return for choosing the company that the agent represents. For the agent this will often be business as usual and quite "unproblematic". This does not apply to the company!

Being an accessory to bribery or corruption is a criminal offence in Denmark

In earlier times, it was possible for Danish companies to close their eyes and renounce all responsibility for how their agents charged commission. Bribery payments were deductible expenses on their tax returns. But this is no longer the case. In accordance with Danish law, the company or its employees could, in many cases, face charges of being an accessory to bribery, even if it takes place via agents, intermediaries or other third parties.

Good advice

For this reason, today several guides are available to companies on how to ensure that any third parties do not practice corruption. For example, companies are recommended to:

- request potential agents to make a written application, or to have a specific form that agents are required to complete.

- obtain information about the agent’s business foundation, ownership, financial situation and any relations with public authorities.

- establish fixed procedures to ensure that this information is always followed up, until they are sure that it is correct and that the agent has nothing to hide.

- use agents recommended by other companies or by the local Danish embassy, for example. Alternatively, references from previous customers, preferably from other sectors, that may be consulted, can be requested. 

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