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Transnational Bribery

Volume 528: debated on Tuesday 24 May 2011

9. When he last met the Director of the Serious Fraud Office to discuss the investigation and prosecution of transnational bribery. (56997)

I hold monthly meetings with the director of the Serious Fraud Office to discuss all aspects of the SFO’s work, including transnational bribery. As the hon. Gentleman will know, the Bribery Act 2010 comes into force on 1 July and the SFO is well prepared for it.

I was reassured by some of what the Attorney-General said in reply to an earlier group of questions. Richard Alderman is a very talented civil servant who has greatly improved the performance of the SFO, but I believe that that improvement is threatened by the proposal to break the SFO into an investigating arm and a prosecuting arm. It appears that the Law Officers are currently having an argument with the Home Office about the matter. The House clearly supports the Law Officers. May I have an assurance that even if the nature of the SFO changes, the prosecuting and investigating arms of whatever new agency takes over will be kept under one roof?

I thank the hon. Gentleman and agree with his assessment of the SFO’s director, Mr Richard Alderman, who has proved to be a loyal and dedicated public servant and prosecutor in whom the Attorney-General and I have the utmost confidence.

I am delighted by the hon. Gentleman’s support for the Law Officers. We accept whatever support we can whenever we can get it. On that basis, I will quit while I am ahead.