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UK anti-bribery law to cover Indian firms

A sweeping anti-bribery act — the “most draconian”, according to its architects — came into force in Britain on Friday, with the jurisdiction to pursue suspects worldwide.

world Updated: Jul 02, 2011 00:51 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

A sweeping anti-bribery act — the “most draconian”, according to its architects — came into force in Britain on Friday, with the jurisdiction to pursue suspects worldwide.

Now, all eyes are on the lokpal bill. Lord Tom McNally, minister of state in the justice ministry, who briefed an Indian business team on Thursday, said, “We will be watching the progress of India’s draft anti-corruption bill with interest. Bribery picks the pocket of every Indian.”

The Bribery Act, 2010 makes ‘commercial bribery’ punishable with unlimited fines and up to 10 years in jail. Its enforcer, the Serious Fraud Office, can take action, civil or criminal, against any firm that has at least part of its business in Britain. Between 600 and 700 Indian firms have a presence in Britain

Companies will be held accountable for not only the acts of individuals but also for failure to stop bribery. It doesn’t matter if these actions take place in Britain or on foreign soil.