Learn more about Bribery
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|Part of the common law series|
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|Actus reus · Causation · Concurrence|
|Mens rea · Intention (general)|
|Intention in English law · Recklessness|
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|Ignorantia juris non excusat|
|Vicarious liability · Corporate liability|
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|Embezzlement · False pretenses|
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|Obstruction of justice · Bribery|
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|Solicitation · Attempt|
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Bribery is a crime implying a sum or gift given alters the behavior of the person in ways not consistent with the duties of that person. It is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions as an official or other person in discharge of a public or legal duty. The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the receiver's conduct. It may be any money, good, right in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, object of value, advantage, or any promise or undertaking to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity.
For example, a motorist may bribe a police officer not to issue a ticket for speeding, a citizen seeking paperwork or utility line connections may bribe a functionary for faster service, a construction company may bribe a civil servant to award a contract, or a narcotics smuggler may bribe a judge to lessen criminal penalties.
In some cases, the briber holds a powerful role and controls the transaction; in other cases, a bribe may be effectively extracted from the person paying it.
Expectations of when a monetary transaction is appropriate can also differ: tipping, for example, is considered bribery in some societies, while in others the two concepts may be interchangeable. In Spanish, bribes are referred to as "la mordida", in middle eastern countries they are Backshish or Bakshish.
The level of non-monetary favours that constitute an incentive to unethical behaviour is variable and may constitute a matter of opinion in a given field:
Payola is the commonplace practice where record companies buy air time from radio and television stations for songs they are promoting.
A grey area may exist when payments to smooth transactions are made. United States law is particularly strict in limiting the ability of businesses to pay for the awarding of contracts by foreign governments; however, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act contains an exception for "grease payments"; very basically, this allows payments to officials in order to obtain the performance of ministerial acts which they are legally required to do, but may delay in the absence of such payment. In some countries, this practice is the norm, often resulting from a developing nation not having the tax structure to pay civil servants an adequate salary. Nevertheless, most economists regard bribery as a bad thing because it encourages rent seeking behaviour. A state where bribery has become a way of life is a kleptocracy.
Pharmaceutical corporations may seek to reward doctors for heavy prescription of their drugs through gifts. The American Medical Association has published ethical guidelines for gifts from industry which include the tenet that physicians should not accept gifts if they are given in relation to the physician’s prescribing practices.  Doubtful cases include grants for travelling to medical conventions that double as tourist trips.
Dentists often receive samples of home dental care products such as toothpaste, which are of negligible value; somewhat ironically, dentists in a television commercial will often state that they get these samples but pay to use the sponsor's product.
In legal situations, lawyers, judges, and others with power may be subject to bribery or payoff for making a decision that benefits someone willing to pay for favours. Operation Greylord revealed that bribery was rampant in the bench and bar community of Chicago in the early 1980s. In Jagdeo Singh v The State of Trinidad and Tobago (2005) UKPC 35, the Privy Council considered the conviction of a lawyer retained to represent a drug trafficker. It appeared that the client wished the lawyer to secure his release on bail by any means, including the bribery of the magistrate, the prosecutor, and any other public officer who might help. It was not suggested that the lawyer had ever made an improper approach to any public officer. However, in a complicated police operation, the lawyer was paid the large fee he had asked for. There was no doubt that the client and his agent had intended a part of that money to be used "corruptly" and would be liable. In Cooper v Slade (1858) 6 HLC 746, a case which concerned the bribery of voters under the Corrupt Practices Prevention Act 1854, Willes J. said, at p 773:
- "I think the word 'corruptly' in this statute means not 'dishonestly', but in purposely doing an act which the law forbids as tending to corrupt voters, whether it be to give a pecuniary inducement to vote, or a reward for having voted in any particular manner. Both the giver and the receiver in such a case may be said to act 'corruptly'."
Further, it was not necessary to prove that any member, officer or servant of a public body was in fact aware of what was going on when the improper offer was made or the bribe was passed, provided that the apparent purpose of the transaction was to affect the conduct of such a person corruptly at some time in the future. Whether the lawyer might or might not have used the money corruptly was not relevant. That it had been accepted in circumstances where the expectation of corruption existed would normally be sufficient, but the conviction was unsafe for other reasons.
Politicians receive campaign contributions and other payoffs from powerful corporations or individuals when making choices in the interests of those parties, or in anticipation of favorable policy. However, such a relationship does not meet the legal standards for bribery without evidence of a quid pro quo. See also influence peddling and political corruption.
A large firm may offer money or gifts to a potential client in exchange for favors. For instance, the service company Aramark was recently accused of offering gifts to an assistant warden in the New Mexico Prison System in exchange for a contract allowing Aramark to provide the food services in the state's prisons.
In some cases where the system of law is not well implemented, bribes may be a way for companies to continue their businesses. In the case, for example where custom officials harass a certain firm or production plant, officially stating to check for irregularities, may halt production and stall other normal activities of a firm. The disruption may cause losses to the firm that exceed the amount of money to pay off the official. Bribing the officials is a common way to deal with this issue in countries where no firm system of reporting these semi-illegal activities. The third party, known as the White Glove may be involed to act as a clean middleman.
 See also
 External links
- Transparency International
- Business Principles for Countering Bribery
- Interchange Solutions Limitedde:Bestechung