Britain spurns US over bribes

First Edition

BRITAIN has refused to join other governments in immediate action against bribery and corruption in trade between developed and developing countries. An appeal by a senior United States official for Britain to adopt measures to prevent companies paying bribes to obtain contracts overseas has failed to change the Government's stance.

Daniel Tarullo, an assistant secretary at the US State Department, met senior officials from the Foreign Office and Department of Trade and Industry in London last week to try to reconcile the differing US and UK positions on a 'working party on illicit payments' set up by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to decide on action to deter and punish companies making such payments.

The US has proposed that all 24 OECD countries agree to introduce measures immediately and monitor how each country performs. In particular the US wants to outlaw the payment of bribes to overseas organisations and officials and stop such payments being tax-deductible.

The British and Japanese delegations want a review carried out in each country, after which individual governments can decide on action. The French and Germans are said to be closer to the UK position. The US is the only country to have made the payment of bribes overseas illegal, following the Lockheed scandal in which massive bribes were paid to win orders for aircraft. In the UK the paying of bribes in this country is illegal but paying bribes overseas is not. Such payments are also tax-deductible. The British delegation on the OECD working party says there would be 'technical difficulties' in criminalising the payment of bribes overseas.

The OECD group meets later this month to choose between the US and UK approach. The agreed recommendation will be put to finance ministers for ratification in June.

The OECD initiative comes at an embarrassing time for the Government, as a House of Commons select committee investigates the Pergau dam 'aid-for-arms' affair in which bribes were alleged to have been offered to Malaysian ministers to win contracts for British companies.

Mr Tarullo met government officials in London and Paris last week to try to swing opinion in favour of the US plan. He also had talks with Jean-Claude Paye, the influential OECD secretary-general, to advance the US cause.

Mr Tarullo told the Independent on Sunday he had failed to win support from Britain. 'I feel confident that our position is now well understood in Her Majesty's government and I'm hopeful that in further dialogue we will come closer together,' he said.

The US was becoming increasingly impatient with the delaying tactics and intransigence of some countries, he added. 'For the past four years the ad hoc group has worked on this issue, more than enough time to establish the problem, develop an approach and draft an effective code or recommendation. Yet the most recent meeting of the group suggests that some members prefer to minimise the problem and dilute efforts to redress it.

'From our perspective, the issue is whether the recommendation that emerges will include concrete and significant steps by each member to combat corruption overseas. The alternative is the OECD initiates a review at the end of which some action may or may not take place. Our view is, everybody ought to take action now.'

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant for KS1 & KS2 Huddersfield

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and i...

Teaching Assistant for KS1 & KS2 Huddersfield

£50 - £65 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and...

Primary Teaching Supply

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories