small payments that are made by a foreign company in some countries to facilitate the initiation of certain services.
The new [British] law, called the Bribery Act, takes effect in April . It resembles the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act [FCPA], which bars companies that trade on U.S. exchanges from bribing foreign government officials to gain a business advantage. …
The law prohibits facilitation payments, or "grease payments," small bribes common in some countries to get mail service, phone hook-ups or other services that otherwise would be significantly delayed.
Those types of payments are legal under the FCPA as long as they are recorded. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called the British law’s criminalization of the payments "troubling.“
See article at: WSJ 28Dec10: “U.K. Law on Bribes Has Firms in a Sweat”