The Bribery Act 2010, while well intentioned, needs major repair work before it is brought into force.

Section 6 – Bribing a Foreign Public Official, does not contain any 'impropriety' test although the general bribery offences do.  As a result legitimate promotional expenditure with overseas government bodies will be considered a criminal offence, even though the same expenditure would be completely legal if incurred with a UK government body.  Nonsense!

Why is this idea important?

The above 'fix' is important because the current law puts business owners and Board members in an impossible position.  They must either:

1) Cease any legitimate promotional expenditure with government bodies to avoid breaking the law.  This will place British business at a major competitive disadvantage overseas; or

2) Condone a criminal act by their staff in the hope that prosecutor discretion and public interest tests will not result in them being tried.

The criminal nature of the law also means they cannot obtain Directors & Officers insurance.

This may have the effect of weakening British Boards, because non-Executive directors will not be prepared to take the above risk as it is not justified in relation to their salaries.

It may also hasten the off-shoring or UK businesses to seek to avoid the risk.

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