Preventing bribery and corruption is a global effort that crosses international borders. In just the past few years, many governments have enacted more laws and regulations to reflect that reality. European, Middle Eastern and African (EMEA) countries are no exception – in many ways, they are at the forefront of this new anti-bribery and anti-corruption landscape and compliance program development.
This critical shift from bygone years of sweeping unethical business behaviour under the rug to creating strict enforcement measures is well overdue. The sometimes overlapping nature of these laws and varying rules based upon their jurisdictions can pose challenges to compliance officers, however. Not to mention that the “letter of the law” sometimes lends to different interpretations depending on the local politics of the day.
When organisations do uncover wrongdoing, their leadership must be careful to understand that the wrong approach to investigation might get them into trouble: employee privacy protections are higher in some European nations, for example, potentially affecting a company’s ability to monitor employee behaviour and investigate wrongdoing.
The article will discuss some of the new laws and regulations that have been enacted (or are still emerging) in various EMEA countries, and provide a perspective on managing compliance standards across varying jurisdictions. The new wave of anti-bribery and anti-corruption controls is a good thing for the economy and for protecting investments worldwide. Business leaders must just be sure not to get caught by the tide.
Europe: Leading the Charge
In most European countries today, it can be very costly to be caught breaking bribery laws. Most laws call for stiff fines. The UK largely ushered in this landscape with the introduction of the UK Bribery Act 2010. Under this groundbreaking law, individuals or businesses may face up to 10 years in prison or unlimited fines. “The UK Bribery Act imposes more severe penalties and is broader in scope than the FCPA, covering bribes to private parties as well to foreign officials. The UK Bribery Act also prohibits being bribed, not just giving bribes. Because of the close ties between the United States and the United Kingdom, US businesses should pay special attention to all forms of potential bribery abroad, regardless of jurisdictional technicalities.” (Everfi, 2020).
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Other Anti-Bribery and Compliance resources from our independent certification body ABAC®:
- Prove that your business is ethical. Complete our FREE Highest Ethical Business Assessment (HEBA) and evaluate your current Corporate Compliance Program. Find out if your organisation’s compliance program is in the line with worldwide Compliance, Business Ethics, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Frameworks.
- Bribery and corruption plague Middle East, how can ISO 37001 help? Download the free PDF now to know more about ABAC solutions in the Middle East.
- Are you ready for ISO 37001? Download our free e-book: The latest global anti-bribery standards redefine a framework for corporate compliance, and find out more!
If you have any further questions or interest in implementing compliance solutions, please contact us.
CRI Group has safeguarded businesses from any risks, providing investigations (i.e. insurance fraud), employee background screening, investigative due diligence, business intelligence, third-party risk management, forensic accounting, compliance and other professional investigative research services. In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.