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Rahman Ravelli prides itself on being at the cutting edge of developing criminal law. International corruption is never far from the news headlines, and the law in this area is undergoing major change and statutory restructuring.
The ancient and outdated Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 1916 still provide the main legal framework for corruption in the UK. These statutes, aimed at bribery of public officials, prohibit "corruptly" giving an advantage for doing something relating to a public body, or showing favour or disfavour to any person in relation to the affairs or business of an agent's principal. Although the corruption statutes prohibit such acts that are done "corruptly", no definition of the word is provided.
In 1998 The Law Commission reported that interpretations of the word in court were in "impressive disarray". It is widely acknowledged that existing corruption legislation in the UK is deficient and needs to be updated, simplified and clarified.
The latest position is that the government has dropped its draft Corruption Bill and asked The Law Commission to undertake a thorough review of corruption legislation - a process that is expected to last up to 18 months.
The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 makes clear that common law bribery and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 1916 applied to bribery and corruption of foreign public officials committed outside the UK by UK nationals and companies. However, the legal definition of corruption still remains unclear.
Rahman Ravelli can assist in navigating the legislative minefield. We advise individuals and companies on all aspects of the legislation applicable to corruption issues and have a designated team of lawyers ready to provide comprehensive advice and representation on all aspects from initial corruption investigations and police station interviews, through to charge and crown court trial.
As well as experienced defence solicitors, Rahman Ravelli have close links with established London defence-only barristers from leading criminal chambers, who have experience in defending complicated corruption cases and who are well placed to provide specialist advice and advocacy at trial. Rahman Ravelli have also been appointed to the Specialist Fraud Panel, a small nationwide panel of fraud solicitors.
The world can be a dangerous place for individual traders and companies alike, seeking to do international business with foreign governments or state-run entities. It is often impossible to navigate local markets and foreign government tenders without the help of local agents and consultants. Many of these intermediaries expect to be paid using "sales commissions", which often create incentives for unethical behaviour.
Of course, the difficulties for the UK based businessperson in identifying the genuine from the corrupt demand for fees, taxes and other levies when doing business abroad can be difficult and confusing at the best of times. At worst, it can lead to the innocent individual being caught up in allegations of impropriety and criminal conduct when, in reality, they have done their best to behave ethically and stick to the right side of the law.
Contact our specialist team.
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» Defending people against fraud and corruption allegations in the TCI» Wielding a big Stick» Navigating the Legal Minefield
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