Friday, 18 March 2011

UK: financial crime debate in the House of Lords

There was a debate on financial crime in the House of Lords yesterday and the question of implementation of the Bribery Act (2010) was once more raised. The debate was moved by Baroness Williams of Crosby to call attention to the United Kingdom's record on legislation regarding bribery, tax avoidance, corruption and money laundering. Contributions were wide ranging; Hansard, the record of debate, can be read hereLord Sassoon, on the Government's behalf, stated (at col. 390):

One of the questions asked by my noble friend Lady Williams concerned responsibility. Responsibility for implementation [of the Bribery Act (2010)] is with my right honourable friend the Justice Secretary, who is concerned to ensure that the Act is implemented in a way that tackles bribery effectively but avoids imposing costs or uncertainty on business and certainly does not make this another gold mine for lawyers advising on either implementing or picking up the consequences of the Act. It is the intention of my right honourable friend and the Government to publish guidance shortly. Implementation of the Act will follow publication after three months, in order to give businesses time to prepare themselves. On the other question about responsibility, I can confirm that enforcement of the legislation will be a matter for the Serious Fraud Office and the police".

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