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GlaxoSmithKline Investigation Highlights Need For Commercial Organisations to Consider Anti-Bribery Compliance

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Glaxo Smith Kline Investigation
The on-going investigation into the drugs maker GlaxoSmithKline regarding allegations of bribery highlights the need for commercial organisations to consider their compliance with anti-bribery legislation.

In the United Kingdom, the Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1st July 2011 and heralded a new regime designed to modernise and simplify the law on bribery to allow prosecutors and the courts to deal with it more effectively.

Under section 1 of the Bribery Act, a person (P) is guilty of an offence where they offer, promise or give a financial advantage to another person in two cases:

  • Case one, where P intends the advantage to bring about an improper performance of a relevant function or an activity by another person or to reward such improper performance
  • Case two, where P knows or believes that the acceptance of the advantage offered, promised or given, in itself constitutes the improper performance of a relevant function or activity

Section 2 also provides for offences relating to being bribed and which can make the recipient or potential recipient of a bribe liable to prosecution.

Most concerning to commercial organisations is perhaps that section 7 of the Bribery Act provides that a commercial organisation (C) is guilty of an offence if a person associated with C bribes another person, intending to obtain or retain business or a business advantage for C. The offence can be committed in the United Kingdom or overseas.
A commercial organisation can, however, defend itself under section 7 if it can show that it had in place adequate procedures designed to prevent bribery. Within this in mind, commercial organisations should:

  • Prohibit bribery in any form, whether direct or indirect and by or for the organisation
  • Commit to implementing systems to counter bribery

At Franklins, my team and I, in liaison with our Employment division, regularly advise businesses on anti-bribery compliance and putting in place suitable systems and policies. If you think you require assistance with the anti-bribery legislation or would like to clarify any particular matter - please feel free to contact me on 01908 660 966 or e-mail me at christopher.buck@franklins-sols.co.uk.

If you have a quick question or want to comment - please drop your comments below and I'd be happy to help as much as I can.

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