Although both the United States and the United Kingdom are cracking down on corporate fraud and corruption, the U.K.’s Bribery Act of 2010 may be a game-changer.
The Bribery Act, which is broader in some respects than the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, applies to any type of bribery, not just payments to foreign officials. A company is liable for the actions of employees or agents who act on its behalf, and is strictly liable for any failure to prevent the bribery.
The Bribery Act applies to any organization that “carries on a business” in Britain, meaning that it could have wide application, although the guidance on this point is not clear.
The Act gives the U.K. an opportunity to elevate anti-corruption and anti-fraud enforcement to new levels, creating expectations for business that could raise the bar globally.