Thursday, 18 Oct 2012
City Skyline at night
Bribery and Corruption
From 01 July 2011 the Bribery Act makes it an offence for commercial organisations carrying on a business in the UK to fail to prevent bribery on their behalf by employees and other associated persons.
UK enforcement is increasing, with a number of UK nationals and companies recently fined or imprisoned for their involvement in overseas corruption.
Overseas corruption also hurts honest companies and raises the costs of doing business. Surveys regularly show that a significant number of UK companies have lost business to a bribing competitor or turned down overseas opportunities due to overseas corruption.
So, what can Overseas Business Risk do for me?
We can give you practical advice and tools to manage the risks of overseas corruption in an increasingly complex global marketplace.
The Overseas Business Risk country pages include up-to-date information on bribery and corruption in over 90 markets.
You can gain further advice and help on managing the risks of overseas corruption from UK Overseas Posts.
Bribery Act 2010
The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 01 July 2011 and, following extensive consultation with business, has published the . The intention of the guidance is to provide commercial organisations with the information they need to put in place to prevent bribery on their behalf. Alongside , there is also a which it is hoped will be particularly useful to SMEs.
The Director of the Serious Fraud Office and the Director of Public Prosecutions have published on their approach to prosecutorial decision-making in respect of offences under the Act. During the consultation period, there was particular interest in a number of areas:
Hospitality and Promotional Expenditure - The Bribery Act does not prohibit hospitality, and the Ministry of Justice guidance confirms that hospitality is allowed as long as it is reasonable and proportionate. The independent prosecution authority guidance confirms that excessively lavish hospitality is an important consideration in the decision on whether to prosecute. Other public interest factors include whether the hospitality was not clearly connected with a legitimate business activity, or was concealed..
Facilitation payments – UK law has never provided an exemption for facilitation payments (small bribes to secure routine government action). The Bribery Act does not change that position. We believe they also undermine corporate anti-bribery procedures and confuse the anti-bribery message to employees and business partners. The Ministry of Justice guidance makes clear that payments specifically permitted or required under local law are not bribes (e.g. as part of a transparent fast-track scheme for business visas). The Ministry of Justice guidance also makes clear that, where payments are made in response to immediate threats to life or limb, the general common law defence of duress may be available. Furthermore, the independent prosecution authority guidance makes clear that they will have regard to the public interest in prosecution of facilitation payments particularly where they are paid, for example, where the payer was in a vulnerable position because of the circumstances where the payment was demanded (e.g. demands by armed militia at roadblocks). View from the Serious Fraud Office and to read more on facilitation payments, please visit the .
The UN has recently launched a new initiative called . This includes a legal library containing laws, jurisprudence and other information on anti-corruption authorities from over 175 States worldwide, indexed and searchable according to each provision of the UN Convention Against Convention (e.g. official embezzlement, prohibitions against bribery, procurement, etc).
BIS also sponsors the international , a free guidance website designed for small and medium enterprises, which includes tools to help you manage the risks of overseas corruption. This includes more than 60 country profiles giving general information on each country plus specific data on corruption in different parts of society, for example the police or the judicial system. This overview helps you gauge the occurrence and type(s) of corruption companies may face in these countries.
Transparency International (TI) is a world's leading non-governmental anti-corruption organisation. TI website provides a (e.g. Corruption Perceptions Index, Bribe Payers Index and Global Corruption Barometer), as well as a variety of anti-corruption resources.
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