UK Bribery Act Guidance a Disappointment, Says Global Financial Integrity Spokesperson

March 30th, 2011

The Guidance to the new anti-bribery law was released this morning. Heather Lowe, Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity, released the following statement about the Guidance earlier today:

“The UK Government has taken an iron-clad piece of legislation that, if applied as written, would have put UK and U.S. companies on a level playing field when it comes to preventing bribery and corruption and turned it into rubber. The Guidance to the Bribery Act published by the UK Ministry of Justice today molded the previously strong standards of corporate liability set out in the Act to accommodate the cries of UK businesses that have enjoyed little regulation with respect to their overseas business practices. The Guidance also sends a clear message to businesses that unless the bribes under investigation are of a significantly large amount, there is little reason to fear prosecution under the Act. The Obama Administration and the OECD, which recently admonished the UK for delaying its implementation of the Act, should make it clear that today’s Guidance does not create an acceptable standard of enforcement.”

The new anti-bribery law is scheduled to go into effect in July.

The full Guidance from the Ministry of Justice can be found here.  The prosecution guidance from the Serious Fraud Office can be downloaded here.

Written by Clark Gascoigne

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