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COMPANIES and organisations will need to get their act together as April this year will see the introduction of the Bribery Act 2010, introducing new offences relating the payment of bribes, receiving of bribes, attempting to bribe a foreign official and organisations failing to prevent bribery taking place.

Penalties for falling foul of the legislation are tough – unlimited fines or prison sentences of up to 10 years. The UK Ministry of Justice has issued guidelines to help companies develop procedures to prevent bribery. These include risk assessment and due diligence on the companies they do business with, practical procedures and guidelines for employees or agents, training and communication and monitoring.

The Ministry is due to send out more guidance shortly, but the message is that companies and organisations should be looking at the issue straight away. Pretty's is just one of the law firms that is running seminars to help organisations ensure that they are above suspicion. Regulators are getting tough on this issue after a wave of corruption scandals.

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