• Bribery Act Reflects UK’s No Tolerance Policy for Corruption
  • June 15, 2010 | Author: Shawn M. Wright
  • Law Firm: Blank Rome LLP - Washington Office
  • The U.K. Parliament’s April 8, 2010 enactment of the Bribery Act (“the Act”) garnered significant international attention for its sweeping reforms of what has been criticized as an antiquated hodgepodge of anti-bribery common law and statutes. Aggressive on its face, the Act has a relatively broad scope, and provides a comprehensive framework of offenses to address bribery conduct, generally and specifically. Unlike the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), the Act does not distinguish between the public and private sectors, and addresses not only the payor of the alleged bribe, but also the recipient. The offenses outlined under the Act include: 1) general bribery offenses, specifically offenses of bribing another person and offenses relating to being bribed; 2) bribery of foreign officials; and 3) a corporate offense that is levied on companies that fail to prevent bribery within their organizations. In addition to the prohibition of financial bribery, the general bribery offenses and the bribery of a foreign official also prohibit the offering, promising or giving of an advantage as well as requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting an advantage. For these offenses, the person offering the bribe must intend for the recipient to exploit a position in which he is otherwise expected to act “impartially,” “in good faith,” or “in accordance with a position of trust.” The standard for determining this expectation is an objective one: would a reasonable person in the UK have the expectation that the recipient is in a position requiring impartiality, good faith and trust.