Doug Cornelius, Real Estate Chief Compliance Officer
The British government is working on
a new Bribery Bill "to reform the criminal law of bribery to provide for a new
consolidated scheme of bribery offenses to cover bribery both in the United
Kingdom (UK) and abroad."
The Bribery Bill would replaces the
offenses under the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889, the Prevention of
Corruption Act 1906 and the Prevention of Corruption Act 1916 with two crimes.
The first makes it a crime to bribe another person. The second makes it a crime
to accept a bribe.
The Bribery Bill also creates a
discrete offense of bribery of a foreign public official and a new offense
where a commercial organization fails to prevent bribery.
This would create a British version of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and
and bring the United Kingdom compliant with its obligations under the OECD.
There is an affirmative defense for
the failure of a commercial organization to prevent bribery: "adequate procedures." The Bribery Bill
requires the Secretary of State to publish guidance about procedures that a
company can put in place to prevent bribery.
The Bribery Bill is widely expected
to come into force later this year.
According to research from the Eversheds, many businesses
are unaware of this new Bribery Bill, with 60% of businesses unaware that
failing to prevent bribery will be a criminal offense.
additional commentary on developments in compliance and ethics, visit Compliance Building.
Doug Cornelius is the Chief Compliance Officer for a real
estate private equity firm. On his blog, Compliance Building, he writes
about compliance and business ethics.