Isle of Man's approach to domestic and international anti-bribery and corruption
The Isle of Man takes a zero tolerance approach to bribery and corruption in all their forms, whether committed here or further afield. Bribery and corruption ruin lives, undermine democracies, stifle economies and create a world that is more unstable for all of us. Corruption, whilst being an offence in itself, is also linked to other crimes such as people or drugs trafficking and wildlife and environmental crimes.
“Bribery and corruption has a damaging effect on communities and the rule of law. This project reflects our commitment to ensuring that ours is an internationally compliant jurisdiction where financial crime, whether perpetrated at home or elsewhere, is not welcome.” Cabinet Office Minister Kate Lord-Brennan MHK
What is the relevant legislation?
The main legislation that covers bribery and corruption in the Isle of Man is the Bribery Act 2013. The Act makes it offences to: give or receive a bribe, bribe a foreign public official and fail to prevent bribery. There is also a duty under the Act for certain individuals to report bribery.
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2008 operates adjacent to the Bribery Act and it facilitates the recovery of ‘property obtained through unlawful conduct’ and specifies the offence of money laundering, including ‘concealing or disguising’ criminal property.
Who owns anti-bribery and corruption activities in the Isle of Man?
Anti-Bribery and Corruption activities are delivered by a number of Government Departments, Boards and Offices working in collaboration.
The key players are:
The Economic Crime Unit is the only agency empowered to investigate bribery and / or corruption.
The unit investigates serious and complex fraud cases, as well as investigating money laundering and terrorist financing. It also incorporates a proactive capability utilising financial and other intelligence to target criminal activity.
The roles of the FIU are:
- Receipt, analysis and dissemination of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).
- Prevention, reduction and detection of financial crime, including bribery and corruption.
The FIU Act also permits disclosure to the FIU of information if that ‘disclosure is made for the purposes of the exercise by the FIU of any of its functions.
The regulatory objectives of the Authority are:
- securing an appropriate degree of protection for policyholders, members of retirement benefits schemes and the customers of persons carrying on a regulated activity;
- the reduction of financial crime (including bribery and corruption); and
- the maintenance of confidence in the Island’s financial services, insurance and pensions industries through effective regulation, thereby supporting the Island’s economy and its development as an international financial centre.
The Authority is responsible for issuing the AML/CFT Handbook which provides details for all licenceholders and registered persons to understand their obligations under the AML/CFT Code 2019. The preventative measures undertaken by licenceholders / registered persons must be applied on a risk based approach in order to forstall or prevent financial crime from being facilitated within their entity as well as within our jurisdiction.
In addition to the licensing and regulation of land-based gambling operations (casino, amusement and slot machines, betting offices and lotteries), the GSC also regulates all online gambling activities, which have grown significantly in recent years.
The Commission’s regulatory objectives are established in the Gambling Supervision Act 2020 ‑
- to keep the gambling industry crime free.
- to protect the young and those at risk.
- to ensure that the services offered by licence holders are fair and that players receive their true winnings.
The Commission also has secondary objectives which relate to proportionality, efficient use of resources and protecting the Island’s reputation and economy. This includes ensuring that gambling services do not facilitate the laundering of illicitly obtained funds, including funds obtained through bribery and / or corruption.
In December 2020, under the Transfer of Functions (Cannabis) Order 2020, the GSC’s remit was expanded to include the licensing and supervision of cannabis cultivation, production, manufacturing, importation and exportation of industrial materials and products for medical use. The regulatory objective, in relation to the Commission’s transferred functions, is preventing the misuse of cannabinol, cannabinol derivatives, cannabis or cannabis resin.
The Audit Advisory Division enhance and protect Isle of Man Governments organisational value by delivering independent, risk-based and objective assurance programmes and advice. Systematic and disciplined approaches are used to evaluate the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes to manage Isle of Man Government risk exposures, including fraud, bribery and corruption.
The Division is responsible for the implementation of financial and trade sanctions in line with those implemented in the United Kingdom, which includes United Nations and United Kingdom sanctions measures. These currently include the Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime.
The Division is also responsible for investigating any suspected breaches of such sanctions. The Division also works closely with other law enforcement agencies on the Island and with HMRC in the United Kingdom, and co-operates with other international customs authorities in the investigation or prevention of customs offences, including customs duty evasion and smuggling.
The Division has a role in investigating possible cases of tax evasion by Isle of Man taxpayers (although most are dealt with as civil matters) and provides information to assist with the investigation of tax evasion in other jurisdictions through its role in ensuring the Island complies with all relevant international tax standards.
The Division is empowered under Section 106 of the Income Tax Act 1970 to disclose documents or information “if the disclosure is made in the prescribed manner under section 13 of the Bribery Act 2013.” This provision makes it clear the Assessor of Income Tax may disclose confidential tax documents and information when it concerns a situation when a person exercising a function on behalf of a public body is offered or receives an advantage in circumstances which may constitute an offence under the Bribery Act 2013.
The Isle of Man is also party to a number of international arrangements based on the OECD Models. These allow for exchange of information relating to tax matters and the relevant Guidance underpinning these arrangements also makes reference to bribery and corruption.
The Division’s international exchange of information network is extensive and the Assessor receives many requests for assistance each year. The Island is party to more than 50 bilateral tax agreements that allow for exchange of information and, through the UK’s territorial extension, it is also party to the OECD/Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, as amended by the 2010 Protocol. There are currently over 140 jurisdictions party to the Convention. Exchange of beneficial ownership information, routinely requested by treaty partners, also helps to ensure the natural persons behind entities and legal arrangements can, and are, identified. Information exchanged in respect of tax matters may also be used as part of wider investigations into other crimes such as bribery.
The Attorney General's Chambers prosecutes all crime in the Isle of Man, including economic crimes such as bribery. Within the Attorney General’s Chambers is the International Cooperation and Asset Recovery Team (ICART).
ICART does not investigate criminal offences, but runs parallel financial investigations for the purposes of conviction based and non-conviction based confiscation. The Attorney General’s Chambers is also the Central Authority for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) in the Isle of Man, and ICART deals with international letters of request for assistance in criminal matters.