20 major exporting countries violate international law obligations

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



Translations: ES | FR


22 of the 41 OECD anti-bribery convention countries have failed to investigate or prosecute any foreign bribery case during the last four years, violating their obligation to combat cross-border bribery.

However, there is some good news as four countries have improved their enforcement efforts and only one country slid back, says anti-corruption group Transparency International today in its 11th annual progress report on enforcement of the convention.

Sixteen years after the entry into force of the convention, the 2015 progress report shows that only four of 41 countries signed up are actively investigating and prosecuting companies that bribe foreign officials to get or inflate contracts, or obtain licences and concessions. Six countries are classified as having moderate enforcement, while another nine have limited enforcement. The remaining 20 countries are doing little or nothing to ensure their companies do not spread corruption around the world and two countries could not be measured.

“By signing up to the OECD anti-bribery convention, governments commit to investigate and prosecute cross-border corruption, yet nearly half of signatory governments are not doing so,” said Transparency International chair José Ugaz. “The OECD must ensure real consequences for such poor performance. Violation of international law obligations to counter cross-border corruption cannot be tolerated.”

The 20 countries with little or no enforcement make up 20.4 per cent of world exports. These countries are failing to investigate and prosecute cross-border bribery due to a lack of political will and inadequate resources allocated toward enforcement measures and investigations. There are 12 convention countries, including some old democracies, where effective political influence or its risk hinders the work of the criminal justice system.

Insufficient sanctions foreseen by law or imposed in practice to deter foreign bribery also hamper enforcement efforts in 21 countries. The OECD Foreign Bribery Report, published in December 2014, indicates that significant sanctions were imposed in only 17 of 41 countries. In Russia, changes to the criminal code in 2015 reduced the size of penalties for receiving or giving bribes, including those relating to foreign officials.

The four leading enforcers (Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States) completed 215 cases and started 59 new cases from 2011-2014. The other 35 countries completed 30 and started 63. Twenty countries have not brought any criminal charges for major cross-border corruption by companies in the last four years.

Since the 2014 progress report, Norway has improved to “Moderate Enforcement” from “Limited Enforcement”. Greece, Netherlands and South Korea have improved to “Limited Enforcement” from “Little or No Enforcement”. Argentina is the only country to decline – moving from “Limited Enforcement” to “Little or No Enforcement”.

Six of the countries in the G20 are in the “Little or No Enforcement” category, meaning they are failing to meet the goals set in the G20’s Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2015-2016.

So as to improve the level of anti-foreign bribery enforcement in the OECD convention countries that give almost two-thirds of the world exports it is crucial that civil society and the private sector start national programmes that address the shortcomings of their governments.

The report can be found at: www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/exporting_corruption_progress_report_2015_assessing_enforcement_of_the_oecd 

Annex:

Breakdown of enforcement levels of OECD anti-bribery convention signatory countries (listed in order of their share of world exports)

Active Enforcement: (4 countries) 22.8 %
United States
Germany
United Kingdom
Switzerland

Moderate Enforcement: (6 countries) 8.8%
Italy
Canada
Australia
Austria
Norway
Finland

Limited Enforcement: (9 countries) 12.7%
France
Netherlands
South Korea
Sweden
Hungary
South Africa **
Portugal**
Greece**
New Zealand

Little or No Enforcement: (20 countries) 20.4%
Japan
Russia ***
Spain
Belgium
Mexico
Brazil
Ireland
Poland
Turkey
Denmark
Czech Republic
Luxembourg
Argentina
Chile
Israel
Slovak Republic
Colombia ***
Slovenia
Bulgaria
Estonia

Iceland could not be classified as its share in world exports is too small to permit distinctions to be made between enforcement categories. The same applies to Latvia because of its small share in world exports and the short time since it joined the Convention. 

** Without any major case commenced during the past four years a country does not qualify as being a moderate enforcer, and without a major case with substantial sanctions being concluded in the past four years a country does not qualify as being an active enforcer.

*** The Convention entered into force in Russia in April 2012, in Colombia in January 2013 and in Latvia in May 2014, so the requirements were lowered proportionately.


For any press enquiries please contact

Chris Sanders
T: +49 30 34 38 20 666
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Latest

Support Transparency International

Antoine Deltour: LuxLeaks whistleblower’s long legal battle continues

On Thursday 23 November, the High Court of Luxembourg will announce its verdict in the case of Antoine Deltour, the whistleblower who revealed aggressive tax avoidance schemes in Luxembourg by sharing the 'LuxLeaks' documents with journalists in 2014.

Open letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Ramon Esono Ebalé must be released

It has been two months since the artist and satirist Ramon Esono Ebalé was detained without charge in Equatorial Guinea. Transparency International joined with 17 organisations and individuals to write to President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. We are calling for his immediate release.

Global Corruption Barometer: citizens’ voices from around the world

Transparency International believes that people’s experience and perceptions of corruption are key for understanding corruption risks around the world. Our Global Corruption Barometer is the world's largest survey asking citizens about their direct personal experience of corruption in their daily lives - check it out here!

How the Honduran military and police profit from the illegal arms trade

An investigation by InSight Crime and Transparency International Honduras has found that many of the guns used in homicides in Honduras come from Honduran military and police stockpiles.

#ParadisePapers: time to clean up the offshore financial havens

The ‘Paradise Papers’ show how the rich and powerful around the world are able to avoid paying tax and keep their business dealings secret. The mechanisms they use can also benefit the corrupt, and must be made more transparent.

Uzbekistan: How to support the real victims of grand corruption

What do you do when assets stolen from a country’s state coffers by corrupt individuals have been recovered and can now be returned to the country - but the government is still controlled by corrupt people? That’s the case of Uzbekistan, one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Entrevista con testigo clave en el Caso Obiang: Delfin Mocache Massoko

En el 27 de octubre 2017, la justicia francesa ha condenado a Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, vicepresidente de Guinea Ecuatorial, a tres años de cárcel extentos de cumplimiento, una multa de 30 millones de euros (US$35 millones) y confiscó todos sus activos en Francia. Antes de que se anunciara el veredicto, entrevistamos a Delfin Mocache Massoko, un testigo clave en el caso, para descubrir qué significa el juicio para él y los ciudadanos de Guinea Ecuatorial.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world