UK Bribery Act - Recent Developments, Threats and Vulnerabilities and the Role of Leadership
Gavin Sinclair, MACCS, UK
As we approach the first anniversary of the UK Bribery Act (UKBA) this summer there will be tendency for busy corporate counsel to heave a huge sigh of relief that measures which were hyped as draconian in many quarters have been something of a damp squib. Senior executives have turned to other more pressing business priorities, reassured that the company code of conduct is in place and that compliance responsibilities have been allocated.
The expected shock of numerous high profile enforcement actions has not materialised, (yet!), and much of the comment and debate has been about procedural matters, such as the merits of introducing US style deferred prosecution agreements. The midwife to the new act, Richard Alderman, has moved on and we wait to see how his successor as Director, David Green, will develop the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) – apparently we should expect greater emphasis on prosecutions.
However, although it hasn’t exactly dominated the headlines, all has not been quiet on the enforcement front. In August last year a junior UK court official called Munir Patel had the dubious distinction of being the first prosecution under the UKBA and received a six year sentence – not exactly the blue chip denouement of corporate dirty dealings in foreign parts that were expected from the Act.
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