Effective as of 1 July 2011, Britain saw a brand new Bribery Act come into force. Wide-ranging powers were provided to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), now required to investigate and prosecute offences, even for companies not based in the UK but doing business on its shores.
Business entertainment and expenses have historically been used by unscrupulous companies and individuals seeking to gain false advantage and secure financially lucrative opportunities. Sometimes this is a last, desperate attempt to secure business upon which a company's or individual's financial future is reliant.
The extent and applicability of the Act will have to be proven in practice. It is clear that the SFO is keen that companies are mainly self-regulating, but the future of the fraudulently intended "back-hander" is very bleak indeed.