News & what's on - Written by on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 15:05 - 0 Comments

Isle of Man introduces Bribery Bill to follow suit with the UK

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By Stacy Keen, Associate: Pinsent Masons Glasgow

In a step to align its bribery laws with developing international standards, the Isle of Man’s Bribery Bill received its First Reading in the lower branch of the island’s Parliament on Tuesday December 4th.

This is the second piece of anti-bribery legislation introduced by the Isle of Man in last five years and will replace the Corruption Act 2008.

Following in the footsteps of the UK Government, the Bribery Bill is in almost identical terms to the UK’s Bribery Act and will introduce a ‘failure to prevent bribery’ offence for commercial organisations, subject to an ‘adequate procedures’ defence.

If the Bribery Bill is implemented as drafted it will also have extra-territorial jurisdiction meaning that if an Isle of Man resident (individual or commercial organisation) commits a bribery offence anywhere in the world, including in the UK, then they will be at risk of prosecution on the island.

The introduction of the Bribery Bill follows a six week consultation process over the summer.  The Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK said in June 2012 when the consultation process was announced that:

“Government is committed to promoting the Isle of Man as an open, transparent and well-regulated jurisdiction and to enhancing its standing in the global community. Measures against bribery are a significant factor in a country’s international reputation, so it is important to ensure the Island’s legislation meets current standards. The Isle of Man has a strong track record of complying with best practice, and the proposed legislation will ensure we are keeping pace with changes in international standards. It will also assist the local economy by ensuring that businesses in the Island are operating under similar law to their trading partners and therefore should not run into any difficulties around compliance.”

Speaking recently he said:

‘…We have a strong track record of complying with best practice, and the new legislation will ensure we are keeping pace with changes in global standards. It will also assist the many businesses in the Island which have links to the United Kingdom by ensuring that they are operating under similar law and so will need only one set of compliance requirements.’

The document containing the summary of responses to the consultation on the Bill is available on the Department of Home Affairs website athttp://www.gov.im/ConsultationDetail.gov?id=326.

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