Compliance Handbook Update: Bribery and corruption

20 June 2023. Published by Sam Tate, Partner and Alexandra Prato, Associate

The Bribery Act 2010 (the Act) modernised the UK's antiquated bribery laws, which dated back to the 19th century and were contained in a mixture of statute and common law. The 2010 Act provides a more comprehensive and effective penalty regime for those committing bribery, whether individuals or corporates, in the public or private sector.

The bribery and corruption chapter in the compliance handbook provides guidance to regulated firms on how they can ensure that they have adequate systems and controls in place to respond to the particular issues posed by the legislation.

It should also be noted that, while English anti-bribery law (in particular, the Act) has broad criminal application, there are also further specific obligations and expectations on regulated entities. This chapter not only examines the ways in which the Act operates and the associated best practices, but also considers specific regulatory obligations.

Recent Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) enforcement cases against regulated firms for bribery and corruption control failings illustrate the regulator's enforcement work and how important it is for regulated firms to ensure they have implemented suitable controls. The FCA's recent focus on these issues was demonstrated by the combined penalties of £143 million across seven bribery and corruption-related enforcement actions in 2022.

While the FCA will not itself prosecute breaches of the Act, it will take a keen interest in the anti-corruption systems and controls of the firms it supervises. It may take regulatory enforcement action against firms who do not comply with their responsibilities.

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The chapter has been updated to provide more detail on recent corporate prosecutions; for example, SFO v Glencore Energy UK Ltd. Glencore was ordered to pay £280,965,092.95 (over $400 million) after a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation revealed it had paid $29 million in bribes to maximise its oil trading profits in five African countries. The SFO estimated Glencore’s bribery to have created a financial benefit of approximately £93.5 million for the company.

The Glencore case was the first example of a company being convicted under Section 1 of the Act, meaning that the SFO was able to meet the threshold for establishing corporate criminal liability through the involvement of senior individuals at the company.

The chapter is written and maintained for Regulatory Intelligence by Sam Tate, Kate Langley, and Alexandra Prato of RPC.

Handbooks on Regulatory Intelligence

The UK compliance handbook is a guide to certain key aspects of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and FCA rules. The handbook covers a wide range of subjects, from obtaining authorisation from one or both UK regulators, to discussing the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Not all subjects are drawn from the PRA or FCA's specific rules, but they are subjects about which compliance practitioners need to be aware.

The handbook emphasises providing compliance practitioners with insight into the practical application of FCA and PRA rules. Each chapter is discussed in the statutory and regulatory context with practical analysis of the subject, together with tips and guidance that firms may find helpful.

The handbook can be used for reference, or as a training aid for those who are new to the compliance industry. (Lindsay Anderson, Regulatory Intelligence)

This article was produced and published on the Thomson Reuters Accelus Regulatory Intelligence.

To access the latest ABC chapter of the Thomson Reuters Compliance Handbook visit [paywall] or get in touch with the RPC's White Collar Crime & Compliance team to request a copy.

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