Bribery and Corruption

John Downes's picture

The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1 July 2011. This is a UK-wide statute which I have discussed on the IFTTA
website before. It replaces the current common law and ancient statutory provisions regarding bribery and corruption. The Act creates offences of bribing another person and of being bribed, and creates a separate offence of bribing a foreign public official. There is a new offence of commercial organisations failing to prevent bribery by persons associated with them. The Act also makes provision for prosecution in the United Kingdom of acts of bribery committed abroad by those with a close connection to the UK.

In Scotland, the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, has approved an initiative for businesses to “self-report” bribery offences. The aim is to create a corporate culture in which bribery is not hidden. The Crown will accept reports from businesses that wish to report the discovery by them of conduct within their organisation which may amount to an offence under the Bribery Act. The Crown will then give consideration to refraining from prosecuting the business and instead referring the case to the Civil Recovery Unit (CRU) for civil settlement.

The Lord Advocate has instructed the police are to report all Bribery Act cases to the Crown Office’s Serious and Organised Crime Division (SOCD). All decisions about criminal proceeding in such cases will be taken by Crown Counsel who will represent the Lord Advocate and give instructions in the most serious cases.

The self-reporting initiative will run for 12 months until 30 June 2012. In order to participate, businesses will require to submit a report via a solicitor to SOCD before that date. The initiative will be reviewed at the end of the 12 month period. Whilst consideration will be given at that point to extending the initiative for a further period, businesses should not assume that there will be an extension.

The Lord Advocate stated that “…This is not a soft option and is about finding the right solutions to this type of offending. Importantly where it is in the public interest there will be criminal proceedings and in other cases the business will face the sanction of civil recovery of assets.
Where criminal proceedings are required the business will be entitled to advise the court that they have come forward and have taken steps to deal with the issues. In other cases where criminal proceedings are not required in the circumstances the matter can be dealt with through the civil recovery of assets. This initiative is one of a number of ways we will fight against this serious and insidious crime. I hope that businesses will be encouraged to self-report any cases involving bribery within their organisations without delay.”

Source:
Scottish Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal’s Service Press Release.

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