UK has passed a Bribery Act which will be implemented from 1st July 2011. They had issued a detailed guidance in March. Some say that the legislation is draconian.
This Act will put additional pressure on some of the companies who are already grappling with corruption scandals. It will cover all Indian companies who do business in the UK. They will be exposed to potential criminal liability where bribes are paid by employees, agents and subsidiaries even if the relevant conduct happens in some other part of the world.
There are 4 new offences which will be introduced by this Act – offering, promising or giving of a bribe; requesting, agreeing to receive, or accepting a bribe; either in the UK or abroad, in public as well as private sectors; bribery of a foreign public official in order to obtain or retain business; and, inability of companies to prevent a bribe being paid by those who perform services for or on behalf of the organisation. [ Source: Economic Times].
All MNCs with offices in UK, Indian companies listed on UK exchanges, and independent director sitting on boards of such companies will all be under the purview of this Act.
Companies like Tata, Essar and Vedanta have significant presence in the UK and so they will have to review and implement anti-bribery policies and procedures.
You can find the ‘necessary steps that need to be taken’ in this article. It's a very well written and detailed article.
US also have a US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. India has Prevention of Corruption Act. Woohoo! Well, not quite. India’s Act is not implemented properly. No wait, it’s almost not implemented. There are very few, if any, arrests and convictions. They monetary penalties are very negligible as compared to the size of the crime. Hence, it’s almost as if we have no law regarding it.
India, tera kya hoga?