The UK Bribery Act 2010 (the Act) was passed in the
final days of the outgoing administration on 9 April 2010. It has
yet to come into force, but is scheduled to do so later this
The Act introduces four new offences:
Bribing a Foreign Public Official; and
Failure to prevent corruption within an organization
It is the last offence on the above list that should
particularly concern all corporates. The offence can be committed
by any corporate entity, regardless of place of incorporation, if
it carries on a business, or part of a business, in the UK.
Carrying on a business is not confined to having a branch or office
in the UK; business can be carried on through agents, distributors
The offence is one of strict liability; if an act of corruption
occurs within the organisation, the offence has been committed. The
only defence is to show that the corporate had 'adequate
procedures' in place to prevent bribery. In light of this, all
corporates should review and consider their ethical policies and
procedures to determine if they are 'adequate'.
More detailed information on the Act can be found on our website.
Hewlett-Packard under investigation for bribery
Hewlett-Packard (HP) is being investigated by the German,
Russian and US authorities over allegations that it paid almost $11
million in bribes to win a contract with the Russian government.
The allegations relate to a $47 million contract to supply computer
systems to the Russian prosecutor general's office, which HP
won in 2003.
It is alleged that the corrupt payments were centred in a German
subsidiary of HP, and were hidden by a series of money transfers
through connected companies in jurisdictions such as the US, Belize
and the British Virgin Islands. The fact that the money transfers
are global increases the risk of sanctions in a number of
jurisdictions. A number of former HP staff are apparently under
investigation, including HP's former head of sales for Russia
and the former Soviet Union.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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