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'Adequate procedures' defence might be insufficient to prevent bribery prosecution, warns lawyer

Nov 11 2010 Martin Coyle, Compliance Complete

Firms will find it very hard to win Bribery Act 2010 court cases using the "adequate procedures" defence, and should instead follow the maxim that prevention is better than cure, according to a senior lawyer. Raj Parker, a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, told delegates at the British Bankers' Association's financial crime conference this week that the legislation, which will be among the toughest in the world, would be a "game changer" for financial services firms. The act, which comes into force in April, could see firms hit with unlimited fines and individuals facing 10 years' imprisonment as well as uncapped financial penalties for engaging in bribery. The offence covers those offering, promising, or giving a bribe, and individuals requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting a bribe. There will also be a corporate offence of failing to prevent bribes. Firms will have a defence for the latter if they can prove that they have put in place "adequate procedures" designed

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