The Bribery Act – “Can I Offer You a Get Out of Jail Free Policy?”
14th March 2012
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Those tickets to Wimbledon offered by a long standing contact – could they be considered a bribe?


Could offering a free lunch to a business client, in order to seal the deal, land you in prison or with a hefty fine?


Jordan Whyte of Addison O'hare Solicitors has a look at the recent developments in bribery legislation to find out.


The New Rules


The Bribery Act came into force on 1 July 2011 and applies to sole traders, partnerships and companies based in the UK.


The Act goes much further than the old bribery laws and most business organisations will need to review the way in which they and their employees and agents operate.


In short, the Bribery Act has made it an offence to:


  • Give a bribe
  • Receive a bribe
  • Bribe a foreign official
  • Fail to prevent a bribe


Most people think of bribery as one person offering cash to another in order to gain benefit. However the new rules make clear that bribery has many covers which may include:


  • Promises of future work
  • Discounts
  • Gifts
  • Donations
  • Offers of employment
  • Facilitation (grease) payments;


The list is endless!


So YES – those Wimbledon tickets could be considered a bribe.


And YES that free lunch could be your last supper for a number of years!


The penalties can be severe – up to a 10 year prison term for an individual or an unlimited fine for a company convicted of failing to prevent bribery.


However, a business can avoid conviction if it can show that it has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery. Prevention is always better than cure!

For more information on anti-bribery procedures you may contact our Jordan Whyte on 01922 725515

About the Author

Addison OHare Solicitors W

Member since: 30th January 2012

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