It’s an interesting defence

Mr Dahdaleh, an acquaintance of Tony Blair and Lord Mandelson, had admitted making payments to Alba managers. But he had pleaded not guilty to eight criminal charges on the grounds the payments were “custom and practice” in Bahraini culture and had been approved by a royal family member.

And it’s one I’ve used myself (although not in a criminal trial, but in talking Inland Revenue through some accounts and not in Bahrain either) because there are parts of the world that do operate in that manner.

You have to wave the wedge around to get anywhere.

15 thoughts on “It’s an interesting defence”

  1. So Much for Subtlety

    No one is criticising him for saying that? No one is saying “that’s waaaascist!” Go to any university sociology department in the country and say that corruption is an ingrained part of Middle Eastern culture and see if you get out alive.

    In fact didn’t a Tory just get in trouble for saying that about Britain’s vibrant Pakistani-origin community?

  2. Piss on the Bribery Act.

    It is a bad joke in the context of this country. Ask Neil Craig about how things go in the Labour fief of Scotland if you want to read about bribery and corruption.

  3. IANAL, however I understand that “That’s the way they do things in Bongo Bongo Land” is not a valid defence under the Bribery Act.

    True, but he wasn’t being charged under the Bribery Act because he committed the alleged offence before the Act became law.

  4. Mr Dahdaleh sounds like the lyrics to a track by Trio or Suzanne Vega.

    Or maybe the chorus of 500 Miles by the Proclaimees.

  5. I once had to pay an Indonesian customs official 50 Singapore dollars to get some tools I needed for work through. On my monthly expenses I simply put it down as ‘bribe’ and handed it to the accounts dept. Never heard a word back from them but have often wondered how they accounted for it. In most Asian countries it’s simply the only way to get things done… however much the liberal twats in their ivory towers don’t want to accept that.

  6. Dongguan John – In the oil industry companies used to have charge cards for employees working in Africa or the ‘Stans. It was marked down as special expenses.

    No idea how they manage to do things now, but the idea that bribery in foreign countries will go away because some idiots in Britain passed a law against it is laughable. It’s almost as risible as their fantasy of being able to control the climate via legislation.

    Routine bribery in Bongo-bongoland isn’t aimed at subverting local laws and regulations, it’s aimed at getting local officials to do their jobs.

    Should we care that a customs official in Baku is making a few extra quid for not unreasonably obstructing the legitimate importation of some drilling kit?

  7. Nope. You just get your foreign sub-contractor to do it and then they bill the costs to you as consultancy or commission or whatever.

    Provided no-one who holds a UK passport or works directly for a UK company is involved in the actual transaction (despite what the UK Bribery Act may say), it’s pretty much impossible to prove. Just a commercial variation of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

  8. In this part of the world it’s known as “chorizo”, as in everyone gets a little slice to liven up their lunchbox and things actually get done.

  9. does anyone know whether it is possible for a foreign company to do business in Brunei without giving the Sultan a “commission”?

  10. Bahrain is corrupt (I know from experience). It’s also a fabulous place to do business. You just need to learn the rules of the game.

    Our whole holier-than-thou attitude to bribery is very Blair – that man was a disaster for the UK.

  11. Mr Dahdelah was paying a standard commission at a rate approved by a member of the local royal family. I pay commission, via Standard Life, to my Pensions adviser – is that a bribe?
    The scandal in this case is that the SFO hired an US law firm to investigate who “forgot” to tell the SFO that they were engaged in a lawsuit in the USA against the victim. The two partners of Akin Gump not only refused to come to the UK to gi9ve evidence, they refused to give evidence by videolink from the safety of their homeland. I wonder why?

  12. Routine bribery in Bongo-bongoland isn’t aimed at subverting local laws and regulations, it’s aimed at getting local officials to do their jobs.

    This!

    Nope. You just get your foreign sub-contractor to do it and then they bill the costs to you as consultancy or commission or whatever.

    And this!

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