Anti-Bribery & Corruption
– Understanding Bribery Law in the UK
In recent years, the UK has been cracking down on bribery cases in corporations. Since the 1st of July 2011, the Bribery Act 2010 has been in force, changing the way that bribery is dealt with in the UK. In particular, the change in legislation has introduced more stringent controls on bribery prevention.
Under the Bribery Act 2010, a corporate body can now be found liable if an associated individual is found to have been involved in a bribe. Being found guilty of this means that the corporate body may be convicted or fined and suffer significant damage to their reputation.
The new law means that corporate bodies may suffer the consequences of a bribery incident, or incidents, without any knowledge of the activity. The primary defence that organisations have in an event of associated bribery, is to be able to prove that they had adequate measures and procedures established to stop bribery from taking place within their organisation.
Due to the severity of bribery as a criminal offence and the repercussions that it can have for a business, it is of the upmost importance to make sure that a business has procedures in place and know the ins and outs of the Bribery Act 2010, with the help of professional legal advice from the best UK law firms.
What Do You Need to Know About Bribery?
Bribery is the act of giving or receiving an advantage (such as money or special treatment) with the intention of gaining an influence. There are many types of influence that can be gained, but often it is associated with the public and business sectors.
The influence will normally involve some form of function, whereby the provider of the bribe receives a favourable outcome. For a function to be considered a bribery offence, influence must be gained over a function that either should have been performed impartially, in good faith, or by a trusted individual.
Depending on the type of organisation, the risk of bribery can be low or high. However, no matter the type of organisation, there is always some factor of risk that needs to be controlled and reduced where applicable.
Recent years have seen some serious cases of bribery arise, both in the UK and abroad. Some of the largest cases of bribery can result in fines worth billions, with investigations undertaken to examine years’ worth of activity.
There are four main offences that fall under the bracket of bribery:
- Bribing a foreign public official
- Promising, offering, or giving a bribe
- Failure to stop bribery
- Accepting a bribe
The offering or receiving of a bribe, without the bribe actually taking place, can also still constitute as an offence, and an individual or corporate body may be found liable for it. The Bribery Act 2010 is incredibly far reaching, and applies to a large number of scenarios, making navigating the regulations and legislations very difficult for many businesses without the help of the best UK solicitors.
The Serious Fraud Office (SF0), is responsible for the investigation and sanctioning of bribery cases. If a business or individual is found liable for bribery under any of the listed offences, then there are a number of penalties that they may face, including:
- EU public work tendering ban
- Imprisonment for up to 10 years
- Un-capped fines
Procedures for Anti-Bribery
To better protect their organisation from the risk of bribery charges by association, many corporations are putting in place stringent procedures for anti-bribery. These procedures can take many forms, including:
- The review and monitoring of changes to legal policies.
- Regular procedures for risk assessments, both internal and external.
- Instigating a zero-tolerance policy for bribery prevention from the top management team.
- Provision of training and enhanced communication to spread knowledge of anti-bribery culture.
- Due diligence checks on parties associated with a corporation.
Get Professional Advice on Anti-Bribery and Corruption
In order to stop problems with bribery within small and large organisations, the changes and prevention procedures need to be implemented effectively, risk assessments need to be undertaken, and policies need to be monitored for change.
The London lawyers at Gulbenkian Andonian can provide the legal expertise that you need to make sure your business has all the correct measures in place to prove adequate bribery prevention. For any questions or queries about bribery and corruption, please don’t hesitate to call our top London lawyers today.