The UK's long-anticipated Bribery Act 2010 came into force
on 1 July 2011. This much talked-about legislation modernises UK
laws on bribery and corruption. It is expected to lead to higher
levels of enforcement and a renewed focus on corporate
The modernisation of Irish bribery legislation in December 2010
by the implementation of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment)
Act 2010 in Ireland has been overshadowed by this UK development.
Although Irish businesses face potentially unlimited fines for
breach of domestic anti-corruption laws, these laws are not
receiving significant attention. The Garda Bureau of Fraud
investigation is the enforcement body in Ireland. While very few
cases of corruption have been pursued in Ireland to date, the
worldwide increased focus on anti-corruption laws is likely to have
an impact on the Irish position.
Diligent enforcement worldwide under the US Foreign Corrupt
Practices Act (FCPA) is escalating national enforcement actions in
other countries. This increase is bolstered by industry-focused
investigations, such as oil and gas, pharmaceutical and medical
devices, and financial services. The prosecution of individuals and
heightened levels of international anti-corruption cooperation have
dramatically increased enforcement. If the UK Serious Fraud Office
adopts this type of focus on worldwide investigation and
co-operation, the UK Bribery Act 2010 is expected to have
reverberations in many other countries, including Ireland.
A key similarity between the Irish and UK legislation is that
both regimes penalise bribery and corruption offences committed
anywhere in the world, though with different triggers for the
penalty. Irish companies that 'carry on business' in the UK
come within the worldwide remit of the UK Bribery Act 2010, meaning
that Irish businesses that carry on business in the UK could be
prosecuted under either the UK Bribery Act 2010 or the Irish
Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 2010.
Our Litigation and Corporate Departments have significant
experience of advising clients on the practical implications of
anti-corruption laws such as compliance procedures, contractual
protections and enforcement actions.
The importance of implementing an anti-corruption
programme: The high levels of financial penalties imposed
in recent years under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and
other foreign bribery legislation are pushing anti-corruption
policies and procedures up the agenda for Irish businesses
operating internationally, and for international businesses
operating in Ireland.
Due diligence: One element of a strong
anti-corruption compliance programme is to ensure that any mergers
and acquisitions your company makes include a focus on
anti-corruption due diligence, and include appropriate contractual
protections in the event that the target has engaged in
Enforcement: Penalties for breach of
Ireland's bribery laws include an unlimited fine and ten years
imprisonment for individuals prosecuted. Senior officers of a
company who "consented or connived" in any bribery
offence by a company may also be personally liable.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
Specific Questions relating to this article should be addressed directly to the author.
In its fight against corruption and white collar crime, the Austrian Judiciary can from now on also rely on an anonymous whistleblowing system that has been implemented with the aim of obtaining such information more easily.
The English criminal trial process is an adversarial one. A proper examination of the evidence is achieved by both the prosecution and the defence being represented by equally able advocates who can present their client's case and test that of their opponent.