Court Clerk Faces First Prosecution Under the UK Bribery Act 2010


Mark Scott, J.D., CFE
ACFE Research Specialist

On August 30, 2011, the United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) — the organization that prosecutes bribery offenses investigated by the police — announced the first prosecution under the UK Bribery Act 2010. In its statement, the CPS announced that it would prosecute Munir Yakub Patel, an administrative law clerk, in relation to allegations that he accepted £500 for fixing a motoring offense.

Patel is due to appear in court this month to answer the charge.

The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on July 1 this year, updating the UK’s anti-corruption laws for the first time in more than a century.

The Bribery Act significantly helps enforcement authorities to prosecute instances of bribery. In short, the Bribery Act contains two general offenses covering the payment and the receipt of a bribe; it also contains a specific offense for the bribery of foreign public officials, and it creates a new corporate offense of failure to prevent bribery.

Although the Bribery Act is primarily designed to tighten the UK’s regulatory framework, it provides for broad jurisdiction over companies and individuals operating outside of the UK. Accordingly, entities with a presence in the UK (or that employ UK citizens) are subject to legislation that exceeds the scope of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

To help organizations understand the Bribery Act, the UK government published detailed guidance about the legislation and different procedures that organizations can put in place to prevent bribery.

The Bribery Act’s passage demonstrates a clear international trend toward more aggressive enforcement of anti-bribery laws. This trend is also evidenced by the U.S. federal government’s growing emphasis on FCPA enforcement. Accordingly, compliance with the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act, and other similar initiatives has become markedly more important for companies conducting business in foreign countries.

Check out two of the ACFE’s newest online self-study courses, FCPA Compliance and FCPA Investigations for more insight into the increasingly intricate network of laws and regulations designed to combat transnational bribery.