Adequate Procedures, Corporate hospitality - Written by on Thursday, September 16, 2010 0:05 - 0 Comments

Go go dancers a no go-go

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One of our favourite blogs (FCPA Professor) is covering the World Bribery & Corruption Compliance forum.

We’re pleased to see Dominic Grieve QC, MP, the UK Attorney General and Robert Amaee, Head of Anti Corruption, Proceeds of Crime & International Assistance, SFO are there and both reading from the book of common sense.

More pleasing was more helpful assurance on corporate hospitality under the new UK Bribery Act coming into force in April next year clarifying the position in relation to corporate hospitality and government officials.

There has been some discussion that in hospitality extended to public officials would be considered a bribe by the UK enforcement authorities under Bribery Act.

This is because while under the Bribery Act there must be an intention to influence the official unlike commercial bribery offence there is no requirement for “improper performance” of a job.

What then, if a business needs to show a delegation from a government an example of a previous construction project and needs to fly them to do so, flys them economy and puts them up in a modest hotel. We have always considered that in such a case it would be non-sensical to prosecute. No element could be said to be lavish and the visit is necessary.

Its reported that Attorney General spent some time talking about corporate hospitality. He confirmed that corporate hospitality is “not illegal” and it’s “not intended to clamp down” on reasonable corporate hospitality. He warned that lavish hospitality would not be tolerated. So far, so good but nothing we hadn’t already heard.

However, it’s reported that the Attorney General also spoke about a recent article in the Financial Times “Mining and Oil Groups Dig In For Bribery Act” (our favourite newspaper). The story notes concerns over the example of a company flying a local mayor to a remote region of the country to view the company’s production facilities and paying for food and accomodation.

The Attorney General drew a distinction. He contrasted the Chilean Mayor example with a company paying for a foreign public official to stay at the Ritz in Paris with “go-go girls” on tap. This would clearly cross over the line. It is unacceptable and would be considered a bribe. A no go-go if you like.

However, its reported that the Attorney General said he “found it difficult” how any “sensible person” could think that flying the mayor to view the production facility was bribery. We agree. And we’re pleased to hear it.

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