Transparency International (‘TI’) reported today on progress made under the OECD Convention on Combating Foreign Bribery with the key message being that many countries are not doing enough. Almost half of the 41 OECD anti-bribery convention countries have failed to investigate or prosecute any foreign bribery cases during the last four years, in violation of their obligation to combat cross-border bribery. Setting a bleak picture TI concluded that “the fundamental goal of creating a corruption-free level playing field for global trade is still far from being achieved.”

For a full picture see the report here.

TI’s statistics highlight that:

  • 4 leading enforcers (the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States) completed 215 cases and started 59 new cases between 2011 and 2014.
  • The other countries completed 30 cases and started 63 in the same period.
  • 20 countries have not brought any criminal charges for major cross-border corruption by companies in the last four years. 
  •  Six of the countries in the G20 are in the “Little or No Enforcement” category which means that they are failing to meet the goals set in the G20’s Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2015-2016.

TI argues that to improve the level of anti-foreign bribery enforcement in the OECD convention countries – countries which provide almost two-thirds of the world’s exports - it is crucial that civil society and the private sector start national programmes that address the shortcomings of their governments.

The UK’s presence as one of the world’s leading enforcers demonstrates that it has successfully reacted to previous criticism by the OECD that it was not doing enough to combat foreign bribery and supports the Director of the SFO’s public statements that the SFO has combating bribery and corruption as its top priority.