International Bribery: OECD Attacks Both Supply and Demand

News & Insights
Apr 20, 2013
In Early April Nicola Bonucci, Director for Legal Affairs of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), spoke at a World Bank conference that focused on the characteristics of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention that result in effective deterrence and enforcement. These include: mistrust among the Convention’s parties regarding their respective compliance; parties’ desire to see other countries criticized after they are criticized themselves; mandatory publishing of all Convention monitoring reports; and the adoption of reports through “consensus minus one”.

Some country-specific factors play a strong role, including: independence of judges and magistrates; the degree of national sentiment disapproving conduct revealed in an anti-bribery enforcement proceeding against a national champion company; the general effectiveness of the country’s justice system; and the degree to which prosecutors are free to aggressively pursue cases.

Impediments enforcing the Convention’s provisions in certain countries include: domestic resource constraints; uncertainty regarding when the relevant statutes of limitation begin to run; and domestic definitions of “public official.”

Mr. Bonucci and other participants cited evidence of continued progress in international anti-bribery efforts. Examples included the Siemens settlement with the Greek parliament regarding allegations of bribery during the 2008 Summer Olympics and the recent suspension by the World Bank of a loan to Bangladesh because of significant bribery concerns. Also noted was the considerable potential of the OECD’s informal mechanism for reporting government officials’ solicitation of bribes to strike at the “demand side” of bribery.”