The term “bribery” can be defined as the offer or acceptance of anything of value in exchange for influence on a government official, public office holder, or employee. Bribes can take many forms including gifts, payments, or favors in exchange for the desired treatment. Throughout the professional world, bribery takes place on a regular basis. The penalties for being convicted of bribery are severe, consisting of heavy fines and imprisonment.
Several different forms of bribery exist in the corporate world today. Bribes occur in the judicial realm when a public official, or someone who acts on behalf of the United States, is influenced to rule a certain way. Jury and witness bribery is also common, when an outside party offers reward for altering their determination or testimony to better suit the party’s needs. The fines for these types of bribery include 15 years of imprisonment, and a fine of up to three times the bribe amount.
Bribery is prevalent in the corporate world as well. Business executives will offer rewards to companies and individuals to merge with their corporation, cease business activity, buy or sell shares of their business, and many other actions that the influenced company or individual would not have otherwise engaged in. This type of bribery usually takes the form of extortion, kickbacks, and procurement fraud. Unfortunately, the company or individual being influenced is often powerless to deny the bribe in the face of a major corporation.