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Bermuda Introduces Bribery Act Legislation

The Bribery Act, 2016 will come into force on 1 September 2017 (the “Bribery Act”). It provides a complete overhaul of Bermuda’s anti-bribery laws.

Why should you be concerned?

  • The Bribery Act creates a new corporate criminal offence – failing to prevent bribery by an associated person – which applies even to non-Bermuda companies and partnerships that carry on business (or part of a business) in Bermuda.
  • There is only one defence to the new corporate offence: the commercial enterprise must prove that it had “adequate procedures” in place, designed to prevent persons associated with it from undertaking acts of bribery.
  • The Bribery Act criminalises private-sector bribery and creates a new offence of bribing a foreign public official.
  • The Bribery Act goes beyond the US’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) in a number of ways, so even companies with robust FCPA compliance programmes need to check that those programmes would be viewed as adequate for the purposes of the Bribery Act.

The Bribery Act in a Nutshell

The Bribery Act is based on the UK’s Bribery Act, 2010. It abolishes Bermuda’s existing anti-corruption laws and replaces them with:

  • an offence of bribing (offering, promising or giving a financial or other advantage);
  • an offence of being bribed (requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting a financial or other advantage);
  • an offence of bribery of foreign public officials and
  • a corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery.

The first three offences apply to both individuals and corporations. Regarding the offence of bribing and the offence of bribery of foreign public officials, it does not matter whether the advantage is offered, promised or given directly or through a third party. The Bribery Act applies to private sector bribery, as well as public sector bribery and contains no exemption for facilitation payments or for corporate promotional expenditure.

The fourth offence (failure by a corporate to prevent bribery) is a strict liability offence with only one possible defence.


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Bermuda Introduces Bribery Act Legislation


Ben Adamson

Bermuda   +1 441 298 7824


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