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Bribery Act: Prosecution Guidance Published

Bribery Act: Prosecution Guidance Published

Today, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keir Starmer QC, and the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Richard Alderman, issued joint guidance for prosecutors on the Bribery Act 2010.

The Bribery Act, which is expected to come into force later this year, creates four distinct criminal offences of:

* bribing another
* being bribed
* bribing a foreign official
* (for commercial organisations) failing to prevent bribery.

The purpose of the guidance is to set out the Directors' approach to deciding whether to bring a prosecution under the Act.

The DPP, Keir Starmer QC, head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said:

"While the Act takes a robust approach to commercial bribery, it also applies to individuals who attempt to influence the application of rules, regulations and normal procedures.

"This guidance will enable prosecutors to adopt a consistent approach to decision making across the whole range of bribery cases.

"The issues prosecutors must consider before deciding whether to seek my consent to prosecute an individual or an organisation for bribery are clearly outlined, and by making this guidance publicly available, our approach is made open and transparent."

The SFO's Director, Richard Alderman, said:

"The Bribery Act is good news for the UK and UK business. It confirms our commitment to helping to eradicate bribery from business practices. It will help ensure that ethical businesses do not lose out to others that use bribery and corruption to win contracts. We shall enforce the act vigorously, but we are still very keen to listen to specific issues that companies have. I want to work with ethical businesses to resolve problems pragmatically and fairly".

The guidance makes it clear that there is an inherent public interest in prosecuting bribery.

The guidance also gives examples of how the public interest factors in the
Code for Crown Prosecutors and the Guidance20on Corporate Prosecutions may be applied to possible prosecutions under the Bribery Act.

The guidance is not exhaustive and prosecutors will be aware of the wide range of circumstances and culpability which may arise in any particular case.

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