Fifteen years ago, bribery was a legitimate tool for businessmen in search of a contract. It was not only acceptable, it was tax deductible expenses.
So ten years ago Labour MP Hugh Bayley, a minister in Tony Blair's first term, introduced an anti-corruption bill to parliament. Like most backbench MPs' bills, it didn't get far.
It did pave the way for money laundering to help fund terrorism become an offence in the first batch of anti-terror legislation following 9/11, though. That prompted home secretary David Blunkett to include a provision making transnational bribery illegal. It took seven or eight years for the first cases to be brought forward: the BAE Systems' Tanzania and al-Yamamah cases were the result. The Tanzania case was settled with a £500,000 fine. The al-Yamamah case ended with BAE being convicted of failing to keep adequate financial records - nothing worse.
Britain continued to perform poorly in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD)Read More »from Why the Bribery Act is only a small step forward