Corporate crime update: EU Anti-Corruption Report

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On 3 February 2014, the European Commission published its EU Anti-Corruption Report. As part of its anti-corruption package, the EU intends to publish a report every two years on member states’ efforts to tackle corruption. It hopes this will stimulate political will to fight corruption and improve the coherence of anti-corruption policies and actions taken by member states.

The UK has fared relatively well. A robust legal framework, including the stringent Bribery Act, and a generally transparent approach means that petty corruption apparently does not pose a challenge in the UK. The UK has the lowest proportion of respondents in the EU who say that have been asked or expected to pay a bribe over the past 12 months or even know someone who has taken a bribe. Only 15 per cent of businesses consider corruption to be a problem in doing business in the UK (compared with the EU average of 43 per cent). Only 46 per cent of respondents think corruption is widespread (compared with the EU average of 75 per cent).

That said, and according to the report, the UK government’s efforts have not produced a centralised strategy. A wide and potentially confusing variety of channels exist for reporting suspected corruption. Do you report to the SFO, to www.actionfraud.police.uk/home or your local council? The EU report refers to the Reigate and Banstead local council corporate anti-fraud and anti-corruption team as one example, but in truth one wonders how many calls their fraud hotline has actually received…

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