Since the Bribery Act 2010 received Royal Assent in April 2010 it has been beset with criticism from the business community and subject to delay. The Act, which has been described as “one of the most draconian anti-corruption measures in the world”, was originally expected to come into force in late 2010, was then postponed until April 2011, and has now been postponed again pending the release of further guidance from the Ministry of Justice.
Section 7 of the Act creates the new corporate offence of failure to prevent bribery. The Act is extra-territorial and will affect any business with a presence in the UK regardless of where that business is domiciled. However, a company will have a defence to an action under section 7 if it can show that it had “adequate procedures” in place to prevent bribery.
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