Bulgaria Not Doing Enough to Combat Foreign Bribery

Politics | August 20, 2015, Thursday // 13:27|  views

Bulgaria is among countries doing little or no effort to combat foreign bribery, a Transparency International report shows.

In its Progress Report 2015: Assessing Enforcement of the OECD Convention on Combating Foreign Bribery [PDF], the organization says cross-border bribery "has enormous negative consequences for the populations of affected countries".

The 11th annual report deals with the enforcement of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Adopted in 1997, the convention requires each signatory country to make foreign bribery a crime for which individuals and enterprises are responsible.

Bulgaria ranks among the 20 countries with "Little or No Enforcement" which account for about 20.5% of the world's exports. These include Japan, Russia, Spain, Belgium, Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Poland, Turkey, Denmark, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Argentina, Chile, Israel, Slovak Republic, Colombia, Slovenia, and Estonia.

"Little or No Enforcement" suggests lacking deterrence of foreign bribery.
It says almost half of the Convention countries have failed to prosecute any foreign bribery case since 1999.

There are only 4 countries (the US, Germany, the UK, and Switzerland) which have active enforcement, six with "moderate enforcement", and nine with "limited enforcement".

The convention is described as a "key instrument for curbing global corruption because the 41
signatory countries are responsible for approximately two-thirds of world exports and almost 90 per cent of total foreign direct investment outflows."

TI adds that the parliaments of Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia and Argentina are debating bills on criminal liability of legal entities.

It places Bulgaria among countries where weaknesses in the relevant legal frameworks have been registered with regard to the protection of whistleblowers.

Systematic collection and publication of enforcement data concerning investigations, court cases, judgements and settlements also has serious shortcomings in the country, the report suggests.

TI voices its concern over "a failure to hold companies responsible for the conduct of their subsidiaries and joint ventures, and the Penal Code does not provide for sanctions against companies for acts of bribery committed by their subsidiaries and/or joint ventures with addresses and headquarters outside Bulgaria."

The organization has recommended to Bulgaria that it should (the list follows without any alterations):

Strengthen judicial institutions’ capacity and improve inter-agency cooperation.

Enact and enforce the bills relevant to foreign bribery that are pending before parliament.

Provide adequate resources to support the new cooperative relationship between the Ministry of Interior and the Prosecution Service in the investigation and prosecution of corruption offenses.

Establish a system of sanctions for companies whose subsidiaries and/or joint ventures headquartered outside Bulgaria commit foreign bribery offenses.

Collect and make publicly available statistical data, including on sanctions imposed on legal persons for corruption-related crimes.

Provide training to prosecutors and investigators on foreign bribery offenses, carry out investigations and strengthen international cooperation.

Comprehensively regulate the protection of whistleblowers reporting corruption-related acts.

Transparency International's previous (2014) report revealed that Bulgaria had sunk in terms of anti-bribery measures compared to the year before.

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Tags: Transparency International, Bulgaria, OECD, foreign bribery, bribery


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