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Stepping up prosecution of transnational bribery

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The OECD Antibribery Convention requires parties to make promising, offering, or giving a bribe to an official of another government a crime. Although 38 countries have ratified the convention, Transparency International reports that as of the end of 2009 only seven are actively enforcing this provision. Another nine are making some effort to enforce it and have taken few if any steps to enforce the convention.

When it comes to the prosecution of officials who accepted bribes from transnational companies, there has been even less activity.  In the last 30 years, only three countries have prosecuted more than five officials for accepting a bribe.  Another ten have prosecuted three to five individuals; 22 countries have prosecuted either one or two officials.  What is behind the lack of prosecutions?  Lack of good cases?  Absence of technical skills?  Political obstacles?



David Hawkes

Head, Special Litigation Unit, INT

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