Bribery and corruption
The UK's new Bribery Act came into effect on 1 July 2011. The Bribery Act represents one of the toughest pieces of anti-corruption legislation anywhere in the world, stricter in its terms than the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The Bribery Act:
- Re-defines the general offences of bribery
- Creates a specific new offence of bribing a foreign public official
- Creates another new offence of failure to prevent bribery, applicable only to commercial organisations, which is subject to a defence of 'adequate procedures' designed to prevent bribery
- Applies in both the public sector and the private sector
- Applies to any transactions in the UK and all UK residents, companies, partnerships and citizens anywhere in the world
- Also applies to non-UK-based companies which carry on business in the UK
- Does not permit 'facilitation' payments
There is no doubt that businesses should put in place detailed procedures which attempt to prevent bribery by staff and other agents or representatives. In the event that conduct which may amount to bribery is discovered businesses should act quickly to obtain expert and independent legal advice.
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