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Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Entries in Bribery Act (1)

Friday
Nov092012

New Guidance on Bribery Act  

The Bribery Act 2010, which came into force on 1st July 2011, for the first time set out the UK’s approach to bribery and corruption in one piece of legislation.  The new law introduced a corporate offence for organisations that fail to prevent bribery by people working on behalf of the business (including agents and contractors), albeit with an opportunity for companies to defend themselves against the offence if they can show that they had ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent bribery.  These measures include an anti-bribery risk assessment and a formal written policy that is clearly communicated (with, in some circumstances, relevant training) to staff members and other associated personnel.

Guidance was issued at the time of implementation, including a great deal of commentary on facilitation payments (e.g. where a government official is given money or goods to perform (or speed up) an existing duty) and business hospitality. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the government agency that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud and corruption, has recently issued new guidance on facilitation payments, business hospitality and corporate self-reporting. 

The SFO has reiterated its stance on facilitation payments (illegal in all circumstances) and business hospitality (bona fide examples are recognised as an established important part of doing business) but the major change to the guidance has come about in relation to the self-reporting of corruption.  It had previously been suggested that the SFO would attempt to reach a civil resolution of self-reported incidents, rather than proceeding with criminal convictions against the company and its senior managers.  The new guidance is not as reassuring.  The SFO has confirmed that it will take into consideration self-reporting as a public interest factor tending against prosecution, if it forms part of a genuinely proactive approach adopted by the corporate management team when the offending is brought to their notice.  Self-reporting is no guarantee that a criminal prosecution will not follow.  Furthermore, where the SFO does not prosecute a self-reporting corporate body, it reserves the right to prosecute it for any unreported violations of the law and provide information on the reported violation to other bodies, such as foreign police forces.  This guidance follows the recent appointment of David Green QC as the new director of the SFO, who has signalled his intention to adopt a more hard edged prosecutorial approach at the SFO, focused on investigating and prosecuting ‘top drawer’ fraud and corruption.

To discuss the requirements for your business in more detail and to seek advice on the management of risk in respect of bribery and corruption, contact Mark Daly at markdaly@greene-greene.com or telephone 01284 717500. 

Mark joined Greene & Greene in 2010 and became a company commercial partner in 2012. Mark has experience of acting for a variety of public and private companies, partnerships, start-ups and sole traders.

Also find Mark on:      Google +        LinkedIn         Twitter