April 1, 2011

‘The Bribery Act, corporate hospitality and Olympic tickets’

In light of the extensive press coverage that the newly implemented Bribery Act has received, many businesses will no doubt be wondering if they are allowed to place bids for corporate hospitality purposes or if doing so will leave them enjoying the games from behind bars.

The Bribery Act applies to all everyday business trading activities however large or small operating within the UK, whether the organisations are incorporated in the UK or not and whether in the public or private sector. Over the course of and in the run up to the games the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) will be monitoring business activities for suspicious transactions but Richard Alderman, director of the SFO, has said, "Sensible and proportionate expenditure on hospitality will remain perfectly lawful under the Bribery Act."

Corporate hospitality will inevitably create big business opportunities throughout the games, but any organisation intending to use the Olympics as an opportunity for entertaining must ensure they have adequate procedures in place beforehand in order to avoid criminal liability. Things to be aware of when planning an event include ensuring there is a substantial business element with a legitimate goal, be transparent and document proposed events carefully, be aware of the value and the associated expenses of this sort of entertainment and ensure these are proportionate to the proposed business.

Implement good procedures, be aware of the restrictions and place your bids! The bidding closes at 11.59pm on 26 April 2011.

There are now 482 days until the games begin! Olympics begin on July 25, 2012.

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