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Between Impunity and ImperialismThe Regulation of Transnational Bribery$
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Kevin E. Davis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190070809

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190070809.001.0001

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Imperial Anti-corruption Law

Imperial Anti-corruption Law

(p.19) 2 Imperial Anti-corruption Law
Between Impunity and Imperialism

Kevin E. Davis

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the history of transnational bribery law to its antecedents in two landmarks trials from the Roman and British empires: Cicero’s prosecution of Verres and the impeachment of Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, led by Edmund Burke. Both prosecutors rejected what Burke called geographical morality in favor of the relatively cosmopolitan view that corrupt practices ought to be condemned regardless of where they take place. The trials demonstrate both the potential benefits of this kind of legal initiative and the challenges associated with allowing politically partisan actors to prosecute cases on behalf of foreigners based on complex financial transactions in remote locations in the context of a large organization. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of transnational aspects of British and French anti-corruption law and bribery law in the postcolonial era.

Keywords:   Edmund Burke, Cicero, Elf Aquitaine, geographical morality, Peter Godber, Hong Kong ICAC, quaestio de repetundis, Verres, Warren Hastings

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