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July 20, 2010 

U.K. Postpones Implementation of Bribery Act for Six Months

In order to provide businesses with more time to prepare for the implementation of the recently passed Bribery Act, the U.K. Ministry of Justice announced today that implementation of the Bribery Act will be postponed for six months and will now go into effect in April 2011.

The Ministry of Justice also announced that in September 2010 it will launch a consultation exercise to draft guidance regarding the procedures that companies can put in place to prevent bribery. The guidance will be published in early 2011 and will be followed by a series of awareness-raising events to ensure affected companies are prepared for the changes to current law.

The Bribery Act, which received Royal Assent on April 8, 2010, will make the following changes to U.K. law:

  • Introduce a corporate offense of failure to prevent bribery by persons working on behalf of a business. A business can avoid conviction if it can show that it has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
  • Make it a criminal offense to give, promise or offer a bribe and to request, agree to receive or accept a bribe either at home or abroad. The measures cover bribery of a foreign public official.
  • Increase the maximum penalty for bribery from seven to 10 years imprisonment, with an unlimited fine.
The full text of the U.K. Bribery Act can be found here.

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