Short Introduction To Anti Bribery Laws In The US And EU

The move to combat corruption in most countries often starts with the creation and enforcement of anti-bribery laws. Anti-bribery laws are legislation that aim to define bribery as a punishable, criminal act and imposes requisite fines and penalties for the commission of the criminal offense.

Anti-Bribery Laws in the US

The fundamental piece of legislation that aims to combat bribery in the US is the General Federal Bribery Statute. Under this law, bribery is committed when one directly or indirectly gives or promises to give anything of value to any public official with the intent to influence the latter’s actions. Conviction comes with a penalty of a fine not more than 3 times the worth of the thing of value, or imprisonment, or both. Anyone convicted of the offense also becomes disqualified to hold any office under the US government.

Another piece of legislation that imposes penalties against bribery is the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act. It was enacted in 1977 and punishes the act of paying, offering or promising to bribe any foreign official in exchange for a favor in business or gaining an unfair business advantage.

Anti Bribery Laws in the UK and Europe

In the UK, the main piece of legislation designed to punish bribery and deter corrupt practices is the Bribery Act of 2010. It came into force in 2011 and is regarded as the strictest piece of legislation against bribery in the world. In France, acts of bribery and related offenses are laid down in the French Criminal Code and cover offenses committed in the public and private sector. Germany enacted a comprehensive law against bribery in 2015. This law incorporates relevant European legislation and the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption of the Council of Europe. It covers EU officials and anyone working in the EU or any of its institutions. The anti-bribery laws enacted in these countries have extraterritorial provisions which mean that they cover punishable acts committed outside of the concerned state.

Anti-corruption and bribery laws in the Netherlands have a localized scope. This means that any foreign national or entity that has committed acts that constitute bribery of a non-Dutch official outside of the Netherlands cannot be subjected to Dutch laws.

Modern anti-bribery laws now have a longer reach and are constantly being updated to keep up with the advances of the modern age. While the threat of hefty fines and imprisonment can create an uncertain atmosphere for international business, organizations, and individuals, increased enforcement, improved international cooperation, and dynamic laws force international entities to toe the line and make sure that their actions do not violate the anti-bribery laws of their host countries.

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