UK Bribery Act Delayed

When I saw there was a press release from the UK’s Ministry of Justice, I was expecting an announcement of what it meant for a commercial organization to have “adequate procedures” to prevent bribery. That being the only affirmative defense under the Bribery Bill.

It turns out that implementation of the Bribery Act will be delayed until April 2011. They will start the regulatory process for guidance on procedures which commercial organizations can put in place to prevent bribery. That guidance is scheduled to be released in early 2011 in time for organizations to ramp up for the compliance deadline.

I view the UK Bribery Act as being more strict than the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act since it has no exclusion for “facilitation payments” and is not limited to government officials. The US DOJ and SEC have stepped up their enforcement of the FCPA which makes it a big concern for any company with international operations. We have yet to see how the UK government will enforce its Bribery Act.

In light of the delay, Transparency International is planning to publish its own guidance to “allow companies to get a ‘head start’ in tightening up their anti-corruption procedures.”