Prior to the coming into force of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 included within it an offence of corrupting an agent of a foreign principal or a foreign body.
This case relates to a prosecution by the Serious Fraud Office in respect of alleged bribery committed by AIL (anonymised by the Court), a multinational operating in the power generation and transport sectors; GH, its Chairman and Chief Executive in 2000; and RH, the Managing Director of an Indian subsidiary.
The alleged bribes were paid between June 2000 and November 2006 from an English bank account to officials or agents of foreign organisations in India, Poland and Tunisia.
On 10th November 2015, during a preparatory hearing, HHJ Pegden QC was invited to rule on the question of whether, prior to the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act of 2001, s.1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 applied to corrupting agents of a foreign principal provided the actus reus took place in this jurisdiction. HHJ Pegden QC decided that, prior to the implementation of the 2001 Act, it did not.
The question before the Court of Appeal was whether or not this was correct, and whether s.1 of the 1906 Act applied to the corruption of an agent of a foreign principal.
The Court was satisfied, based on ordinary principles of statutory construction, that prior to the coming into force of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 it was an offence under s.1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 to corrupt an agent of a foreign principal or a foreign body. The appeal was allowed and HHJ Pegden QC's ruling reversed.
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