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Martin Harris

Minister and Deputy Head of Mission to Russia

Part of UK in Romania

30th June 2011

No bribes, please. We’re British


new Bribery Act comes into force tomorrow, 1 July. From tomorrow, British

nationals and British companies are subject to new rules which tighten

and extend legislation governing their activities overseas.


Bribery Act makes it illegal to give or receive a bribe anywhere in the

world. It also requires companies to take steps to prevent their

employees and agents acting on their behalf from indulging in bribery. A

company might claim that it had no knowledge of what its employee was

doing, but unless it can prove that it had the policies and procedures

in place to prevent bribes from being given or taken, it will still be

liable to prosecution.


does this mean for companies operating in Romania? Firstly, it means that if a British national or a British company is

involved in bribery in Romania it will be breaking the law in the UK and

not just in Romania, and is liable to prosecution by the British



it means that British companies planning to do business in Romania will

need to assess the risks of corruption and take measures to protect

themselves against that risk. The company will need to be assured that

all of its employees and anyone acting on its behalf are aware of their

responsibilities under the Bribery Act and that it has procedures in

place to ensure that the law is being fully observed.


clear policy of zero tolerance for bribery might mean that some

business is lost. British companies might lose out to other companies

that are less scrupulous. But no good business will be lost. In the long

term British companies will do best and Romania will benefit most from a

business climate which is transparent and clean. Romanian companies and

institutions can contract with British companies with the assurance

that those companies are legally bound in their home jurisdiction to do

business cleanly and honestly in Romania.  That can only enhance

Britain’s reputation as a quality investor. And in this way British

companies will be doing their bit to assist Romania with its efforts to

stamp out corruption, to clean up the business environment, and to put

an end to the culture of giving and receiving bribes.

1 comment on “No bribes, please. We’re British

  1. Hi,

    i want to know if there is any way to combat bribery, to stop it. My son is in university in Romania and apparently to pass a certain exam every student has to pay that particular tutor. Is there any way around it?

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About Martin Harris

I am the Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Moscow. In my last job I was the Ambassador at the British Embassy in Bucharest. Previously I…

I am the Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy
in Moscow. In my last job I was the Ambassador at the British Embassy in
Bucharest. Previously I have served at the British Embassies in Kyiv
and Moscow as well as at the UK Delegation to the OSCE in Vienna.
I love music, especially opera, chamber and sacred music. I am
married to Linda MacLachlan. We have three daughters, Catriona, Tabitha
and Flora – and they have one dog Timur and two cats, Pushkin and Tolstoi.

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