A Comprehensive Study of the New U.K. Bribery Act and What It Means for Multinational Corporations

January 27, 2011

Over the past several years the world of corporate regulatory and criminal law compliance has focused to an ever-greater extent on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)–and with good reason. In 2010 alone, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission combined for 74 FCPA enforcement actions, up from only 5 in 2004. Although other countries also actively prosecute overseas bribery, to date the United States has clearly led the way. In several months, however, this may change.

In April, the United Kingdom’s anti-bribery enforcers at the Serious Fraud Office will operate under a new legal framework that is in many ways operatively stricter and jurisdictionally broader than the FCPA. The new U.K. Bribery Act applies broadly to all commercial organizations that do business in the United Kingdom (regardless of where the criminal conduct occurs), makes organizations liable for the improper activities of third parties acting on their behalf, criminalizes entirely private (i.e., non-governmental) bribery, and provides no exception for small payments made to expedite or facilitate ministerial governmental actions.

This new regulatory framework is naturally cause for concern and a challenge for multinational corporations. To help explain the various facets of the new law and highlight particular compliance challenges on which multinationals should focus, Joe Warin, Charles Falconer, and Michael Diamant of Gibson Dunn authored the article, "The British Are Coming!: Britain Changes Its Law on Foreign Bribery and Joins the International Fight Against Corruption." The article represents the first comprehensive academic study of the Bribery Act. In addition to providing a thorough discussion of the Bribery Act’s contents and how it differs from the FCPA, the article discusses in detail the current U.K. anti-bribery enforcement infrastructure and how the United Kingdom may cooperate further in the future with U.S. regulators prosecuting international bribery.

Reprinted with permission from the Texas International Law Journal, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Fall 2010), © 2010 Texas International Law Journal.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP 

Gibson Dunn attorneys in the United States and United Kingdom advise clients on the design and implementation of anti-corruption programs, conduct internal investigations, and provide guidance regarding issues arising under anti-corruption laws and questions of reporting. If your organization has experienced potentially problematic conduct, our attorneys can work with you to make the initial determination of whether to self-report and, if so, to devise a coordinated strategy for working with U.S. and U.K. regulators.   Please contact the Gibson Dunn attorney with whom you work, or any of the following:

Washington, D.C.
F. Joseph Warin (202-887-3609, [email protected])  
Daniel J. Plaine (202-955-8286, [email protected])
Judith A. Lee (202-887-3591, [email protected])
David P. Burns (202-887-3786, [email protected])  
Jim Slear (202-955-8578, [email protected])
Brian C. Baldrate (202-887-3717, [email protected])  
Michael S. Diamant (202-887-3604, [email protected])
John W.F. Chesley (202-887-3788, [email protected])
Patrick F. Speice, Jr. (202-887-3776,[email protected])
Elizabeth H. Goergen (202-887-3623, [email protected])

New York
Joel M. Cohen (212-351-2664, [email protected])
Lee G. Dunst
(212-351-3824, [email protected])
Mark A. Kirsch (212-351-2662, [email protected])
Jim Walden (212-351-2300, [email protected])
Alexander H. Southwell (212-351-3981, [email protected])
Lawrence J. Zweifach (212-351-2625, [email protected])
Adam P. Wolf (212-351-3956, [email protected])

Evan S. Tilton (214-698-3156, [email protected])

Robert C. Blume (303-298-5758, [email protected])
Jessica H. Sanderson (303-298-5928, [email protected])
Laura M. Sturges (303-298-5929, [email protected])

Los Angeles
Debra Wong Yang (213-229-7472, [email protected]),
the former United States Attorney for the Central District of California,

Michael M. Farhang (213-229-7005, [email protected])
Douglas M. Fuchs (213-229-7605, [email protected])
Marcellus A. McRae (213-229-7675, [email protected])

Orange County
Nicola T. Hanna (949-451-4270, [email protected])
J. Scot Kennedy (949-451-3805, [email protected])
Eric Raines (949-451-4050, [email protected])
Bryan E. Smith (949-451-4055, [email protected]

Hong Kong
Kelly Austin (+852 2214 3788, [email protected])
Kate Yin (+852 2214 3988, [email protected])

Charlie Falconer (+44 20 7071 4270, [email protected])
Philip Rocher (+44 20 7071 4202, [email protected])
Barbara Davidson (+44 20 7071 4216, [email protected])
Tim Vogel (+44 20 7071 4271, [email protected])

Benno Schwarz (+49 89 189 33-110, [email protected])
Michael Walther (+49 89 189 33-180, [email protected])
Mark Zimmer
(+49 89 189 33-130, [email protected])  

© 2011 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

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