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FOI request suggests Bribery Act underused by sFO

A Freedom of Information request has identified that the serious Fraud Office (sFO) is currently investigating just two cases relating to the Bribery Act 2010.  Three other matters are said to be 'in development'.  The sFO is yet to bring a prosecution under the Act.

The Bribery Act, which came into force on 1 July 2011, has been described as "the toughest anti-corruption legislation in the world" placing heavy responsibilities on corporations and their officers. However, many legal commentators have suggested that the sFO does not have the budget to enforce the Act in the manner legislators intended.

It is understood that the City of London Police are investigating approximately 25 individual cases of bribery and that the sFO is investigating nine other matters that pre-date the Bribery Act.

At least three individuals have been convicted under the Bribery Act by prosecutions brought by other agencies.   The offences have involved a student attempting to bribe a university lecture, a taxi driver attempting to bribe a driving examiner and a court clerk accepting bribes.  None of these have touched upon the more wide-reaching parts of the Act that deal with corporate responsibility.


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