On 9 October, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) published revised statements of policy and guidance in relation to some key elements of the Bribery Act 2010 (BBA 2010), to take immediate effect. These statements of policy concerned facilitation payments, business expenditure and self-reporting.
The revised statement of policy confirmed that facilitation payments are illegal under the BBA 2010, regardless of their size or frequency. The SFO also urged caution in relation to hospitality and business expenditure. Although corporate hospitality is recognised to be an important part of doing business, care should be taken as bribes can very easily be disguised in this way.
In relation to self-reporting, the SFO confirmed that the act of self-reporting will not in itself automatically ensure those concerned avoid prosecution. In order for self-reporting to provide any kind of "protection" in this way, it must form part of a "genuinely proactive approach" of the corporate management team. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis. The SFO can decide to prosecute unreported breaches of the BBA 2010's provisions and decide not to prosecute reported violations. The SFO will only prosecute in those cases where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest.