Corrupt firms targeted by new Bribery Act
Employment Law & HR update - 1/7/2011
The new Bribery Act has brought about legislation which is aimed
at making it easier to prosecute corrupt companies.
The act has revamped existing laws relating to firms who make
corrupt payments abroad, and has rolled out new punishments,
including ten-year prison terms and unlimited fines.
The BBC reported that the Ministry of Justice said in its guide
to the Bribery Act, “Very generally, [bribery] is defined as giving
someone a financial or other advantage to encourage that person to
perform their functions or activities improperly or to reward that
person for having already done so.”
The act’s list of offences has made it illegal to fail to
prevent bribery or to offer or receive bribes. The legislation
applies to British companies and foreign firms that maintain some
operations in the UK. It also applies to individuals.
According to the government, the new Bribery Act will ensure the
UK becomes a global leader in stamping out corruption in
The act was due to come in earlier this year, but faced delays
over concerns that corporate hospitality could be seen as a bribe.
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has since advised firms that they
will be allowed to treat clients to events, so long as the
hospitality is ‘reasonable and proportionate’.