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The UK’s Bribery Bill has received Royal Assent and the UK now has a Bribery Act, arguably the toughest anti-corruption law in the world. The Act will come into force on 1st July 2011.

The Act will be welcomed internationally as a sign that the UK is toughening its fight against overseas corruption. UK companies will welcome the fact that the UK now has a consolidated and modern corruption law. However, the Act risks criminalising perfectly proper promotional expenditure by companies and further work is required in order to address this issue through Government and prosecutorial guidance before the Act comes into force.

New offences have been recognised, see below, and are seen as quite tough rules however government officials have stated that the guidance offers reassurance to businesses that “combating bribery is about common sense, not bureaucracyā€¯:

offering or receiving a bribe;
bribery of foreign officials;
failure to prevent a bribe being paid (on which see below the “adequate procedures” defence)

A full copy of the Act is available at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2010/pdf/ukpga_20100023_en.pdf.

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