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Pack A Copy Of UK Bribery Act If Heading To New Delhi

Posted on December 30, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Corruption is rife on an international scale as we crash out of 2011. If 2012 is - as expected - a year of further austerity with the much heralded BRIC countries unable to lead us all out of economic gloom, expect more, not less in the way of people looking for 'shortcuts.'

Worth noting then, that in India, the stock-market regulator has - unusually - taken steps against seven small companies involved in capital raising activities and issued a tough warning to investment banks of an overhaul of the rules governing initial public offerings. 

The Financial Times has the story, which you can read here if you have access to FT.com. I particularly like the quote given by  UK Sinha, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India to the paper. He is quoted as saying : "People are becoming very audacious and they are taking measures which are in complete conflict with the Sebi regulations."

Audacious indeed. India has made the business press headlines steadily in the last fortnight as one leading business figure after another stumbles into the spotlight for the wrong reasons, mostly to do with allegations of fraud or corruption. 

It will be interesting to watch where it all leads in 2012. Mumbai, with all its aspiring cynicism may well have ignored the recent efforts of anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare , but for any foreign multinational looking east for its salvation should keep a close eye on his progress. 

It is frankly very hard to spend even a short amount of time in India and try to get anything done without quickly coming to the conclusion that corruption is endemic here, as  regular independent comment  from a veteran journalist and India-watcher in Delhi makes very clear.

And yet only this month Ernst & Young published a survey which found that the vast majority of UK companies claim that the Bribery Act has not significantly affected their ability to do business abroad ( not just in India). This research reveals that just 6% of firms believe the anti-bribery law has affected their ability to do business.

Oops. Another dangerous 'disconnect' in business life. Instead of worrying about 'black swans' in 2012 perhaps any UK plc - and its boardrooms - should make very sure it recognises what makes the local pigeons fat. 

Categories: Corporate, Corruption, Scrutiny