Bribery Act: One year on and a lack of prosecutions
By Daniel Hunter
The lack of a corporate prosecution under the Bribery Act has led to businesses questioning the Serious Fraud Office’s appetite for enforcement, Ernst & Young has found.
The Ernst & Young Global Fraud Survey shows that only 26% of executives consider that UK enforcers are willing to prosecute cases of bribery and corruption and are effective in securing convictions. This is lower than Western Europe, despite the passing of the Act that came into force a year ago yesterday.
This is reinforced by conversations with businesses, some of whom have noted the lack of high profile prosecutions and begun to re-examine the level of investment in their anti-bribery and corruption compliance measures.
“The delay in seeing prosecutions under the Act has led some businesses to begin quietly questioning the SFO’s appetite for enforcement," Jonathan Middup, UK Head of Ernst & Young’s Anti-Bribery Corruption team said.
"After the hiatus of the Act being debated, passed and finally becoming enforceable, a year without a corporate prosecution has left some feeling like it’s a phoney war.
“However despite the lack of cases, the Bribery Act has had a far-reaching effect with the act becoming embedded in compliance programmes. It has meant that businesses have paid attention to facilitation payments, third party relationships and corporate entertainment, and it has seen allegations of bribery and corruption treated far more seriously than in the past.”
Bribery and corruption starts at home, completed cases show
Though there have been no prosecutions under the new Act, 2012 has seen five completed cases of bribery and corruption against UK companies under old laws, according to Ernst & Young’s UK Bribery Digest released next week.
Despite much attention about the need for companies to battle foreign bribery and corruption risks, the analysis finds that four of those five completed cases this year have involved domestic... continued on page two >