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Bribery Act Becomes Law

15th July, 2010

Bribery and corruption are rife in many countries. For example, IKEA recently ceased its expansion in Russia because of difficulties in obtaining permissions to build stores without being willing to engage in corrupt practices. In some countries, ‘sweeteners’ for deals are a necessity or near-necessity.

However, UK businesses that engage in bribery to obtain business now face stiff penalties if they are caught. The Bribery Act 2010 received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010. It is an offence under the Act to bribe another person or to allow oneself to be bribed, and specifically it is an offence to bribe foreign public officials. These offences are punishable by an unlimited fine and/or a prison sentence of up to 10 years. The Act also makes failing to prevent bribery an offence punishable by an unlimited fine.

The Act is being introduced in stages during the year and represents a serious risk to business people who use corrupt practices.

If you are concerned by the issues raised by the Bribery Act, contact Nick Clarke on 01244 405558 (or email him here) for advice.

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