Business: Bribery Act comes into force

1st July 2011

The BBC News website report that the Bribery Act which comes into force on 1 July, overhauls existing laws dating back to 1889 and creates offences that carry prison terms of up to 10 years and unlimited fines.

Basicaly the act "makes it illegal to offer or receive bribes and to fail to prevent bribery".

It also applies to individuals as well as companies.

The Ministry of Justice has published a guide to the Bribery Act.

There were fears that corporate hospitality could be considered bribery under the terms of the Act but earlier this year the Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke assured companies that events such as Wimbledon and the Grand Prix were acceptable hospitality, so long as the amount spent was "reasonable and proportionate".

Many UK businesses could be still caught out as according to a survey published last year a third of UK companies have not yet conducted an anti-bribery and corruption risk assessment.

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