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Transparency International endorses UK efforts to implement OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

“New legislation clear signal that major exporters are committed to fight corruption”, anti-corruption NGO says

Transparency International has endorsed efforts to bring UK legislation in line with the requirements of the 1997 OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. This Convention has been ratified by the UK but there has been no subsequent attempt to bring UK legislation into conformity by criminalising the bribery of foreign public officials.

"If adopted the new legislation would be a clear signal that most major exporting countries are serious about the fight against corruption," said TI Chairman Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen. "It would mean that companies from other OECD Countries competing with British companies could no longer hide behind the UK's non-compliance with the OECD Convention."

The UK Chapter of Transparency International has prepared a Bill to this end and Tony Colman, MP for Putney, has introduced the Bill into the House of Commons this week. The Bribery of Foreign Public Officials Bill would be the first update to the UK Corruption laws since 1916. It would implement the 1997 OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and contains the following specific provisions:

  • It will be a criminal offence to bribe foreign public officials in the same way as it would had it occurred in respect of a public body or public official in England and Wales;
  • Full nationality based extra-territorial jurisdiction will apply, even if all the components of the offence take place offshore;
  • The Serious Fraud Office will be able to investigate and prosecute suspected cases of the corruption of foreign public officials, in the same way as it does currently for serious and complex fraud;
  • The approval of the Attorney General will not be required for this type of prosecution.

Laurence Cockcroft, Chairman of the UK Chapter of Transparency International, said "This Bill provides the UK with an excellent opportunity to come into line with other OECD countries and so end an embarrassing period under successive governments where the UK has been perceived as dragging its heels in the fight against international corruption. By introducing a clear offence of bribery it will also cure the current scandalous situation whereby the payment of offshore bribes is deductible for tax purposes. This situation has had a material effect in fostering corruption in relation to large scale projects in the developing world."

Tony Colman, prior to proposing the Bill to Parliament on Wednesday, commented "Introduction of legislation on the bribery of foreign public officials cannot be delayed if the UK is to retain credibility on the issue of international corruption. I hope the provisions of this Bill will be enacted early in a new Parliament".

For any press enquiries please contact

Susan Côté-Freeman
Senior Press Officer at the TI London office
Tel. +44-207-610 1400

Tony Colman’s office at the House of Commons
Clare Montagu
Tel: +44-207-2192843

Laurence Cockcroft
Chairman of the UK Chapter of Transparency International
Tel: +44-207-226 6166

Graham Rodmell
Coordinator of the UK Chapter of Transparency International
Tel: +44-1892-530356