Corporate hospitality, Facilitation payments - Written by on Sunday, December 19, 2010 12:32 - 0 Comments

Corporate Hospitality: SFO to help clarify position next year (before the Olympics)

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A storm in an afternoon tea-cup?

We have been saying for some time that the various fears which have been widely reported about the “uncertainties” around the application of the Bribery Act to corporate hospitality are overblown.

The thrust of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) position has been that provided the hospitality is not lavish and people use their common sense then there should not be a problem.

We wrote a post back in October answering some of the burning questions and in the aftermath (or should that be “afterglow”) of the European victory in the Ryder Cup we said that “golf fans can rest easy”.

Since then we have received a number of questions around the London Olympics in 2012 and what might be considered as reasonable.  Organisations are concerned because some of the packages are expensive.

The good news: guidance to be issued

Hot on the heels of some useful comments on help in connection facilitation payments for organisations (which we reported yesterday) today the Daily Telegraph reports that the SFO is to publish guidelines around corporate hospitality to help organisations navigate the law.

In the article Richard Alderman, Director of the Serious Fraud Office, is reported as saying:

“Sensible and proportionate expenditure on hospitality will remain perfectly lawful under the Bribery Act when it comes into force. I understand that businesses want more detailed guidance before attending major sporting events. We will be happy to help by publishing our views.“[our emphasis]

The more detailed guidance from the SFO is expected next year and should help organisations worried about what to do during the Olympics.

We’ll keep you posted…

Image © Crown Copyright 2010

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