Bribery and Corruption

Old Bailey Solicitors was pleased to represent Mark Blake, an officer at Colnbrook immigration detention centre who was accused of conspiring with a reporter at the Sun newspaper to sell stories for about detainees for money. It was one of a number of high profile cases following in the wake of the hacking scandal.

At trial, all of the defendants were privately funded by international news agencies and Mr Blake was the only defendant relying upon legal aid. With a great team, including leading counsel from 5 Paper Buildings chambers, a conviction and custody was avoided.

Bribery and corruption was previously prohibited in the UK by the common law and various different statutes. In 2010 however the new Bribery Act was passed which consolidates and repeals much of the old law in this field.

Our Business Crime Solicitors have significant experience of defending allegations of corruption and bribery. Our criminal defence solicitors have recently been instructed in case of bribery in relation to a juror sitting on a large scale and complex fraud case. We have previously been instructed in relation to procurement of US military defence contracts which involved an investigation conducted by the FBI.

The main offences created by the Bribery Acct 2010 are (section 1) Bribery of another person and (section 2) being bribed. There are also offences of bribing a foreign public official.

Most importantly for commercial enterprises, section 7 provides that a commercial organisation may incur criminal liability if a person who performed services for it (such as an employee or agent) commits bribery on its behalf and it cannot prove that it had adopted appropriate procedures to prevent such conduct. Clearly this is of serious concern for company directors and managers if they are to be held accountable for the corrupt actions of their employees.

The government has produced guidance on how companies can put procedures in place to help prevent their organisations from committing this offence. Our expert business crime solicitors can help your organisation implement the correct procedures that will minimise the risk of bribery occurring within your business.

Bribery is defined as the offer, or promise or provision (or request, agreement to receive or acceptance) of a financial or other advantage for the purpose of inducing or rewarding the improper performance of a relevant function or activity. A relevant function and activity are:

  • Any function of a public nature
  • Any activity connected to a business
  • Any activity performed in the course of a person’s employment
  • Any activity performed by or on behalf of a body of persons

The person conducting the function or activity must be expected to perform it in good faith and/ or impartially and/or that the person is in a position of trust by virtue of their function or activity.

The Act has wide territorial scope and extends to not only bribery in the UK but also bribery abroad where the person giving or accepting the bribe has a “close connection” with the UK.

Please contact us to speak to an expert business crime solicitor about your case. All enquiries are treated in the strictest of confidence.

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