Scottish Government
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Bribery and corruption law reform

Anyone attempting to bribe another individual will face up to 10 years in jail under anti-corruption proposals published today by the Scottish Government.

Bribing of a foreign public official would also become a separate offence under the plans.

The proposals have been put forward in a consultation launched today by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill who said the current law in Scotland is outdated and in need of reform.

Proposals for modernising the law in England and Wales were published in March and the Scottish Government proposals are modelled on these.

The proposals for England and Wales make it a criminal offence to give, promise or offer a bribe or to request, agree to receive or accept a bribe either at home or abroad, with the measures covering bribery of a foreign public official.

There would also be an increase in the maximum penalty for bribery from seven to 10 years in prison.

Mr MacAskill said

"While Scotland has low levels of corruption, with only three cases in 2007, the current law on bribery and corruption is fragmented, outdated and in need of reform.

"Bribery and corruption does not respect international boundaries and we need a clearer legal framework in Scotland to bring it into line with international law.

"These new proposals will enable Scotland to play its part in the international fight against bribery and corruption and send a clear message to these people that it will not be tolerated in this country.

"Whether you are a Mr Big seeking to bribe someone for your own criminal ends, or an individual who has no previous criminal record but accepts a bribe to get ahead in life, there is no hiding place and you could face up to ten years in jail.

"The UK Government has presented its proposals for the UK draft Bill in terms of retaining the UK's reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world and therefore a good place to do business.

"We need to protect Scotland's reputation in the same way. In doing so we are maintaining a supportive business environment which can contribute to sustainable economic growth."

Court records show that there were three bribery and corruption offences in Scotland in 2006-07, seven in 2005/06, 12 in 2004-05, two in 2003-04, and 29 in 2002-03.

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