Late last week The Sun's Whitehall Editor, Clodagh Hartley,
was arrested as part of Operation Elveden, the Scotland Yard
enquiry into payments made by journalists to public officials.
The Metropolitan Police have reported that the journalist is
being held, as a result of information provided to police by News
Corporation's management and standards committee. News
Corporation is carrying out an ongoing internal investigation into
alleged phone-hacking and corrupt payments to police and other
A statement issued by the Metropolitan Police said that a
"37-year-old woman attended Bromley police station by
appointment and was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt
under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, suspicion of
conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office, contrary to
common law and suspicion of bribery, contrary to the Bribery Act
This is the first high profile arrest of an individual under the
Bribery Act 2010. Individuals found guilty of an offence face
significant penalties. The maximum penalty for bribery is ten years
imprisonment and/ or an unlimited fine.
To date only one other person has been convicted of an offence
under the Bribery Act 2010; Munir Patel, an administrative officer
at Redbridge Magistrates' Court, was held to have taken
Ł500 by way of a bribe to 'get rid of a speeding
charge'. Interestingly, Patel was convicted after a News
International sting operation in which he was filmed accepting a
bribe. He became the first person convicted under the Bribery Act
2010 and was originally sentenced to six years. This sentence was
reduced to four years on appeal in May 2012.
This arrest puts the total number of arrests at 30, as part of
Operation Elveden, which is closely connected to Scotland
Yard's phone-hacking investigation, Operation Weeting.
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The ramifications for those found to be in civil contempt (as presided over by the High Court), and, in particular, the court’s power to enforce such a finding against a contemnor who resides overseas, are more far reaching than many (civil) lawyers realise.
The Bribery Act has made the news again following the conviction of a would be taxi driver. Earlier this week, at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester, Mr Mawia Mushtaq became the second person convicted of an offence under the Bribery Act by attempting to bribe a Licensing Officer.
In the previous edition of Corporate Focus we reported that the Bribery Act 2010 (the Bribery Act) came into force on 1 July 2011 and we considered procedures that commercial organisations could put into place in order to prevent bribery.
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