Home Office firms up bribery laws

A section of the bill contains clauses to ‘put beyond doubt’ that the UK law of bribery applies to acts involving foreign public officials, Ministers, MPs and judges.

It gives UK courts jurisdiction over crimes of bribery committed by UK nationals and UK companies overseas and will mean that companies are unable to offset any such illegal ‘costs’ against tax.

But there may be anger among aid bodies that it does not go further, and extends the crackdown to all forms of bribery by Britons and British companies overseas but it excludes other persons.

Other sections of the bill increase the power – and duty – of disclosure by the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise to assist law enforcement agencies and the security and intelligence services.

But the bill makes it clear information provided this way must not be passed on unless it is for the purposes of the original disclosure.

The provisions are in addition to the expected enhanced powers to seize or freeze terrorist assets – including the ability to do so at the start of an investigation to reduce the risk that funds may be moved.


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