FCPA: London Calling: The Olympics and Corporate Hospitality under the UK Bribery Act

As The Clash sang, London Calling, and the London Olympics are now less than 100 days away. One of the areas which has generated the greatest amount of hyperbole is over corporate hospitality at the upcoming 2012 summer Games. There has been rampant speculation that under the UK Bribery Act, corporations may well be prosecuted for providing corporate hospitality events before or during the Games. Indeed some have speculated that even purchasing a ticket at the face price for a client or customer would draw the scrutiny of the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). As a lawyer, I certainly appreciate the ‘going down the slippery slope’ argument and I may have even engaged in that technique once or twice. However, neither the UK Bribery Act nor the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits corporate hospitality. Further, I think the ‘slippery slope’ argument is one that fails to stand up to scrutiny.

However, recognizing that my interpretation of UK law is simply that and I am not licensed to practice law in the UK and hence cannot provide a legal opinion on the Bribery Act, I went to thebriberyact.com to see what thebriberyact.com guys (who are licensed to practice law in the UK) might have opined on this issue. They have a couple of interesting posts up on this specific issue. Recently they had the opportunity to put this question to the SFO and, in a blog entitled “The SFO’s view on corporate hospitality”, they have posted what they heard from the SFO, , which I quote in its entirety::

The SFO have told us that they will be looking at five factors when considering corporate hospitality in the context of the Bribery Act.

Where the SFO is considering whether any particular case of corporate expenditure appears to fall outside the bounds of reasonable and proportionate hospitality, it will be looking to see whether:

1. the company has a clear issued policy regarding gifts and hospitality,

2 ...

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The Clash - London Calling

London Calling - Capitol theater New Jersey 1980

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