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Maire Maguire: Hello and welcome. I'm Maire Maguire and I'm joined today by Eoin O’Shea. Eoin is partner in Dispute Resolution at Lawrence Graham and head of the firm, Anti-Corruption Group. He is also author of The Bribery Act 2010: A Practical Guide recently published by Jordan Publishing, Welcome, Eoin.
Eoin O’Shea: Hi, Maire.
Maire Maguire: So, to begin with, can you tell us a little bit about what the Bribery Act is all about?
Eoin O’Shea: The Bribery Act is about reforming United Kingdom law and bringing it up-to-date. Historically, of course, bribery and corruption were always illegal but it was considered much more difficult to prosecute bribery and corruption offenses in the last 10 or 20 years because business has changed. It has become much more international and a lot of bribery was going on overseas, but the existing law wasn’t really capable of penalising it effectively or disincentivising it effectively by means of some successful prosecutions. The Bribery Act does build on - it could be described as the son or the grandson of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which have blazed the trail of criminalising the bribery of foreign public officials. There’s also the OECD Convention on Bribery which requires all OECD member states to have an effective law that criminalises bribery overseas. So, the Bribery Act has been put together to bring the UK law up-to-date and some would say that it’s the most draconian anti-bribery law in the world at the moment. I think that’s a fairly accurate description.
Maire Maguire: And why do you feel then that there’s a need for this book?
Eoin O’Shea: Well, I think there’s a need for the book because the act is a relatively short piece of legislation but it’s quite complicated and it certainly has very wide ranging effects on the way people do business. So, the book is really an attempt to look at the provision of the act in some detail, analyse what they might practically mean in the real world and give some guidance to the readers.
Maire Maguire: And who is the book aimed at?
Eoin O’Shea: It’s aimed largely at people in business, companies, international companies and companies which face any sort of a bribery risk, both companies in the UK and internationally, and also their advisers, their lawyers and other advisers who may not be specialists in this area but who need to gain an understanding of it. So, it’s aimed primarily at them. There are also, of course, the practitioners in this particular field who I hope may take an interest in the book and, of course, there are students who will hopefully be interested in it. The book also contains at the end a couple of sort of quite developed scenarios which can be used maybe for a teaching seminar or training purpose, so people training in anti-bribery compliance sessions that are sort of mushrooming now may also find that part of the book particularly useful.
Maire Maguire: Thank you, Eoin. If you are interested in learning more about the Bribery Act, Eoin’s book is currently for sale on the Jordan’s website at www.jordanpublishing.co.uk