Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime - Written by on Thursday, October 17, 2013 15:31 - 0 Comments

Opinion: All hat & no cows? Not quite. HALF of SFO resources now devoted to corruption cases.

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harlequin-fraud-officeIn recent years the SFO has talked tough when it comes to anti-bribery law enforcement.

Companies are going to get prosecuted.

Directors risk jail.  And…

Just in case you thought it was safe to…

…a crack new SFO leadership team is patrolling the manor, intelligence is being upped and the SFO isn’t about offering free advice, it’s there to prosecute.

All the talk built an expectation of action.

Some waited for the raids on July 1, 2011 when the Bribery Act came into force.

Others, waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And…waited some more. Until.

Over two years after the entry into force of the Bribery Act, brought in on a wave of threats and promises to enforce against corporate offenders, there are still no prosecutions against corporates.

In the meantime various surveys report complacency among UK PLC while a small business lobby argues that the Bribery Act makes it too hard for SME’s to do business on the international stage.

Speaking recently the General Counsel of the SFO, Alun Milford, said:

“Commentators have [raised the question] It’s all very well saying how tough you intend to be, but where are the cases?

About half of our operational resource is engaged in corruption-related casework. Bribery Act cases are being worked up in our intelligence section and, in some cases, being worked on by our investigation teams. Our suspects include individuals and companies. We also now have our first charges under the Act.”

Opinion

The world is flat brigade will continue to argue the SFO is all jaw jaw and no war when it comes to anti-corruption enforcement.

Likewise, the small business lobby will continue to argue that the Bribery Act is killing international exports.

Neither is true.

Lobbying for dilution of the Bribery Act is a polite way of saying, we need to be able to bribe to trade.

Sadly some will learn the enforcement lesson the hard way.

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