New anti-bribery measures become law

12 April 2010 by

The Bribery Bill received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010, heralding a new approach to tackling corruption and seeking to make the UK compliant with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Anti-corruption body Transparency International welcomed the new law, describing it as historic, long overdue and sending out a strong message that the UK will not tolerate bribery. It is hoped that the new legislation will encourage ethical practices in the business world.

The connection between corrupt business practices and breaches of human rights has long been recognised. In their comment on the draft Bribery Bill, The Corner House said:

“most large-scale bribery is committed for the benefit and on behalf of businesses and that bribery often infringes upon a wide range of human rights, both directly and indirectly. As such, a commercial organisation’s negligent failure to prevent bribery should remain a criminal offence.”

Meanwhile, the Campaign Against Arms Trade and The Corner House are not pursuing an appeal for permission for judicial review of the Serious Fraud Office’s decision to enter a plea bargain settlement with BAE Systems and to drop “conspiracy to corrupt” charges against a BAE former agent. The organisations say that the action has been withdrawn with regret as a recent admission by the SFO makes it difficult to sustain any legal challenge.

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