The Serious Fraud Office is reviewing its guidance on gifts and corporate hospitality under the Bribery Act 2010. The SFO’s guidance on self reporting and facilitation payments are also under review.
Under the terms of the Bribery Act, it is an offence to give or offer an advantage to induce a third party to “perform a relevant function improperly”. The advantage could include some corporate gifts and hospitality could fall foul of this. It is also an offence for a company to prevent its employees or agents offering bribes.
The SFO’s previous guidance, now removed from its website, was practical and pragmatic - “reasonable” and “proportionate” corporate hospitality would not fall foul of the law.
The current review is not expected to produce a significant change in policy, but could give an indication of the direction its new director, David Green, wants to take the SFO.
The SFO has declined to comment further than confirming the review is underway; refusing to indicate how the long review is expected to take.