UK’s fraud squad reviews its guidance on new bribery rules

Marion Dakers
COMPLIANCE staff have been left scratching their heads after the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) quietly withdrew guidance on commercial bribery laws.

The SFO website no longer gives firms advice on facilitation payments, gifts and hospitality, telling visitors instead that the guidance is “currently under revision”.

A spokesperson for the office yesterday confirmed that the guidance is under review, but could not give further details.

The Bribery Act 2010, which came into force in July last year, reinforced a ban on facilitation payments, or small amounts paid to smooth the path of actions to which the payer already has a right.

The SFO had set out guidance for firms to avoid prosecution for some types of payment, but a week ago this was taken down.

The watchdog has also removed advice on corporate hospitality, a controversial part of the Act when it came into force.

Firms complained at the time that they were uncertain how much they could splash out when entertaining clients.

The SFO’s new head David Green said earlier this month that the watchdog is not interested in chasing down companies for hosting clients at events.