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Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 21 October 2009

To ask the Solicitor-General what assessment the Attorney-General has made of whether the terms of Article 5 of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions are binding when considering whether to consent to prosecute British companies and individuals in relation to allegations of overseas corruption. (294735)

In considering an application for consent to the institution of criminal proceedings, the Attorney-General considers whether or not a prosecution would be in the public interest, in accordance with accepted prosecutorial principles. For the purposes of the 2005 UK phase 2 report of the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions, the then Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith confirmed that none of the factors listed in article 5 would be taken into account by him as public interest factors justifying a decision not to give consent. The present Attorney-General takes the same approach, and abides by article 5.