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The Impact of the Bribery Act

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First conviction under the new Bribery Act

Roger MasonI closely monitor criminal cases that involve bribery and welcomed the Bribery Act coming into force on 1st July of this year.  It is too late to affect the outcome of offences which allegedly took place before 1st July, one in particular is getting a lot of media coverage.

It is reported that Britain's Serious Fraud Office has revealed that a British defence firm deposited millions of pounds into a bank account in Switzerland belonging to one of the members of the Saudi royal family.  It is alleged that the deposit was made to ensure that the British Ministry of Defence would grant a two-billion pounds contract to GPT, part of EADS, the biggest aerospace defence company in Europe. So far no charges have been brought.

This contrasts significantly to the case where a clerk who worked at Redbridge Magistrates' Court has become the first person to be convicted under the Bribery Act.  He took £500 to avoid putting details of a traffic summons on the court’s database.  The offence took place in August.  The perpetrator of this fraud has been bailed over and is awaiting sentencing on 11th November.  The judge warned him that he could expect a custodial sentence.

The Act gives powers for a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine for a person who commits bribery.  The definition of bribery goes beyond simply giving or receiving money to carry out a fraudulent act.  For instance if a foreign agent of a British company makes payments to the officials of foreign governments or organisations to win contracts this is now clearly an offence under UK law.

It is important that all people in business understand this challenging legislation.  If you provide inducements, monetary or otherwise, to gain benefits for yourself or your employer or for an organisation for which you are acting as an agent then you could be found guilty of bribery.  The same can be said of people who accept the inducement. Also, as a director or senior manager of an organisation you must understand the new offence of ‘failing to prevent bribery’.

Many crimes involve bribery and in the past, due to out of date legislation, they have been difficult to prosecute.  The Act now provides significant powers for the CPS to focus on the offence of bribery.

I am presenting another LIVE online presentation of The Impact of the Bribery Act from 2.30pm to 4.00pm on 29th November 2011 following my morning LIVE online presentation of The Essential Duties of a Company Director.

Roger Mason
UK Training (Worldwide) Limited


Those are the words that one of our delegates wrote on their feedback form after attending our LIVE online seminar The Impact of the Bribery Act.

Another delegate said: "This is the first time I have attended a webinar and I am not very good with computers but I found this an excellent way to train. The course was carefully and professionally presented and held my attention throughout. I am also, as a Quality Manager, very pro anything that saves fuel and provides excellent content and value for money at the same time. Well done UK Training!"

Another delegate pointed out that there are clear benefits from attending our online seminars.  She said: "I thought it was absolutely brilliant. An excellent presentation in the comfort of my own office without having to travel to London. I am really impressed!"

Please go to our website to attend the seminar on 29th November 2011.


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