Companies should prepare for the possible introduction of a ‘failure to prevent bribery’ offence in India, warns Satnam Tumani

Not long ago a leading politician made the following statement while discussing reforms to anti-corruption legislation: “We are also considering amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act … with the purpose of filling certain gaps in the legislation and bringing it into line with current international practice. A clear and unambiguous definition for the term ‘corruption’… is being sought to be provided. Experience has shown that in a vast majority of cases … the supplier of the bribery goes scot free … Experience has also shown that big ticket corruption is mostly related to operations by large commercial entities. It is therefore also proposed to include corporate failure to prevent bribery as a new offence on the supply side.”

Readers who are familiar with the UK would not be blamed for concluding that the politician was referring to the reform of the UK’s antiquated anti-corruption legislation, which was replaced with the UK Bribery Act 2010, and in particular the introduction of the groundbreaking “failure to prevent bribery offence”.

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Satnam Tumani is a former head of the Bribery & Corruption and International Assistance divisions at the UK Serious Fraud Office. He is currently a partner in the London office of Kirkland & Ellis International LLP.