The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1 July 2011.
Bona fide hospitality or promotional or other legitimate business expenditure is recognised as an established and important part of doing business. It is also the case, however, that bribes are sometimes disguised as legitimate business expenditure.
Whether or not the SFO will prosecute in respect of a bribe presented as hospitality or some other business expenditure will be governed by the Full Code Test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and the Joint Prosecution Guidance of the Director of the SFO and the Director of Public Prosecutions on the Bribery Act 2010. Where relevant, the Joint Guidance on Corporate Prosecutions will also be applied.
If on the evidence there is a realistic prospect of conviction, the SFO will prosecute if it is in the public interest to do so. In appropriate cases the SFO may use its powers under proceeds of crime legislation as an alternative (or in addition) to prosecution; see the Attorney General's guidance to prosecuting bodies on their asset recovery powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
This statement of policy has immediate effect. It supersedes any statement of policy or practice on business expenditure previously made by or on behalf of the SFO.
9 October 2012