Trace International has published its 2013 report summarising international anti-bribery enforcement trends.
The report is an interesting and digestible summary of statistics on developments in transnational corruption cases, defined as enforcement actions involving bribery of a government official that includes a cross-border component. The report, necessarily, is based only on information in the public domain.
Key findings of the report included an increase in the number of countries enforcing domestic bribery laws and a steep increase in corporate fines resulting from U.S. enforcement actions.
- The number of formal foreign bribery actions in the US, which excludes ongoing investigations, was flat in 2013 by comparison to 2012, although the US continues to account for the bulk of trasnational cases.
- The number of formal foreign bribery actions by other countries increased 71% between 2012 and 2014
- The UK continues to rank second to the US in the number of foreign bribery enforcement actions – a position that may surprise some critics of UK efforts
- But of foreign bribery enforcement actions brought by the US, the highest number were against companies headquarter in the UK
- The extractive industries sector has been subject to more enforcement actions than any other sector, followed by manufacturing and services
The paper includes figures for foreign bribery enforcement actions by country; formal foreign bribery actions by country; US foreign bribery enforcement by country of headquarters; foreign bribery enforcement actions by country excluding the US; domestic bribery enforcement actions by country and domestic and foreign bribery enforcement actions by industry.
Of course, all potential cases of bribery might also justify claims by victim states, or the termination or setting aside of tainted contracts. There is a significant gap between the number of reported enforcement actions and compensation or recoveries paid to victim states. That disparity, in the context of settlements of bribery cases, was recently considered in a detailed report by the World’s Bank Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative.