How can we detect bribery in a digital world?

Jan 23, 2023
We explore the definition of bribery, the evolution of modern bribery, and the importance of intelligence, investigation and case management systems.

Bribery and corruption continue to pose significant threats to businesses and societies worldwide. As organisations strive to maintain ethical standards and prevent illicit practices, the need for robust anti-bribery measures becomes crucial.

This article explores the definition of bribery, the evolution of modern bribery, and the importance of intelligence, investigation and case management systems in detecting and combating these economic crimes.

Defining bribery

Bribery can be defined as the act of offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting something of value with the intent to influence the actions or decisions of an individual in a position of power or authority. It is an unethical practice that undermines fairness, transparency, and the rule of law in business transactions.

Modern bribery: Beyond cash in envelopes

While the traditional image of bribery involves cash in envelopes, modern bribery has taken on various forms.

It can manifest as lavish dinners, artwork, donations to charity funds, or cryptocurrency payments. This evolution makes detecting and preventing bribery more challenging since it can be disguised as legitimate transactions or gifts.

Detecting bribery threats

Effectively detecting bribery threats requires a comprehensive intelligence, investigation and case management system.

Such systems employ advanced technology and data analytics to help organisations collect and monitor financial transactions from multiple data sources. Information can be analysed to identify suspicious activities and patterns and make connections with other cases before taking action, be that disrupting suspicious activity or conducting an end-to-end investigation.

Intelligence, investigation and case management systems

Intelligence and investigation management software are vital for managing the threat of bribery and corruption for several reasons:

Proactive risk mitigation

These systems provide organisations with the tools to proactively identify and assess bribery risks within their operations. By monitoring and analysing data, they can pinpoint potential vulnerabilities, identify and help users report patterns and trends, and take preventive measures.

Enhanced detection capabilities

Intelligence and investigation management systems leverage advanced technology to detect suspicious activities and uncover hidden patterns indicative of bribery. These systems can identify connections between individuals, transactions, and entities to build a comprehensive picture of potential bribery schemes.

Streamlined investigations

When bribery allegations arise, these systems streamline the investigation process by providing a centralised platform to collect and analyse information and evidence. They facilitate collaboration among investigators, streamline workflows, and enable efficient case management, ensuring thorough and timely investigations.

Anti-bribery and the wider scope of economic crime

Bribery is a significant component of economic crime, which encompass a range of illicit activities such as fraud, money laundering and illicit finance, and corruption.

Combatting bribery is essential for maintaining integrity in business transactions, promoting fair competition, and safeguarding the interests of organisations and society. By actively addressing bribery, businesses contribute to a more transparent and ethical business environment.

Bribery policy and relevant laws

A bribery policy is a set of guidelines and procedures implemented by organisations to prevent and address bribery within their operations.

It outlines the organisation’s commitment to ethical behaviour, provides guidelines on accepting gifts or favours, and establishes procedures for reporting and investigating potential instances of bribery.

Relevant laws pertaining to bribery vary across jurisdictions. For example, in the United Kingdom, the Bribery Act 2010 is notable legislation that criminalises bribery and sets out specific offences and penalties.

Other countries may have their own laws addressing bribery and corruption, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in the United States.


As bribery and corruption pose ongoing threats to businesses and societies, organisations must adopt effective measures to detect and combat these economic crimes.

By implementing intelligence and investigation management systems, businesses can proactively mitigate risks, detect potential bribery threats, and streamline investigations.

Furthermore, aligning anti-bribery efforts with wider economic crime prevention initiatives contributes to a more transparent and ethical business landscape, benefiting organisations and society.

Learn more about Clue for Economic Crime

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