According to a recent study by Transparency International (TI), only four of the 41 Parties of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Anti-Bribery Convention (the “Convention”) are “active” enforcers of the Convention. These results also provide an indication of the vigor of global anti-bribery enforcement efforts, because the 41 Parties of the Convention represent approximately two-thirds of the world’s exports and nearly 90 percent of all foreign direct-investment expenditures.
TI’s study reviewed 40 of the 41 Parties’ enforcement actions between 2010 and 2013 and categorized the Parties’ enforcement efforts as “active,” “moderate,” “limited” and “little or no enforcement.” The study found that the United States, Germany, United Kingdom and Switzerland are “active” enforcers. The United States topped the list, with the most investigations and prosecutions. In the second highest category, five countries ranked as “moderate” enforcers: Italy, Canada, Australia, Austria and Finland. The remaining countries all ranked at the bottom of TI’s enforcement scale, with “limited” or “little or no enforcement.”
Only two Parties, Canada and New Zealand, improved their rankings from TI’s 2013 study. Canada’s improved ranking is attributed largely to amendments to the country’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA), including the addition of a “books and records” offense for efforts to conceal bribe payments in corporate financial accounting records, and an increase in the maximum period of incarceration for bribery offenses from five to 14 years. Notably, however, Canada still lacks a civil enforcement option under the CFPOA.
Several of the world’s largest economies, including China, Brazil, Mexico and Russia, were ranked as having “little or no enforcement.” In total, the 30 countries categorized as having “limited” or “little to no enforcement” represent approximately one-third of the world’s exports.