Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime - Written by on Monday, June 10, 2013 14:19 - 0 Comments

Alex and the corporate hospitality work-around. Really?

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A nice cartoon strip on Friday from our favourite banker Alex in the Daily Telegraph on Friday.

We know that the corporate hospitality industry has taken hit coinciding with the entry into force of the Bribery Act.

Anecdotally we hear that the reason given by many corporates for the lower take up of corporate hospitality offers is concern over the Bribery Act.

It is unclear the extent to which the reduced take up relates to the present economic climate.

However, one thing which is clear is that corporates do continue to worry about the application of the Bribery Act to corporate hospitality.  We have heard of some who have come up with attempted work arounds along the lines described in the cartoon strip, namely, that if a recipient accepts the hospitality on their day off then it cannot amount to bribery.

We’d like to sound a cautionary note.

This analysis is based on completely flawed logic.

A bribe is a bribe is a bribe.

If corporate hospitality (and we accept that in most cases this is a big if…) is construed as a bribe it will be irrelevant if it was accepted on a weekend or a day off.  On the contrary this type of analysis is likely to be a very big red flag to prosecutors.

However, in most cases of usual corporate hospitality then the chances are that, provided that corporates follow their own reasonable corporate hospitality guidelines then there should not be an issue.

We certainly don’t recommend any ‘work-around’ which involves taking corporate hospitality off the books or removing visibility from the business.

That is a recipe for disaster.

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