Bribery in international business

OECD recognises Switzerland’s commitment to the fight against foreign bribery and recommends further improvements


The OECD Working Group on Bribery congratulates Switzerland on its first conviction of a company for foreign bribery and recommends that it continue its enforcement efforts. However, the OECD is concerned that there has been only one other conviction, of an individual, for foreign bribery since Switzerland enacted the offence in 2000. The report notes that Switzerland is particularly exposed to the risks of bribery of foreign public officials due to its important financial sector and the large number of multinational enterprises based there.


The OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed its evaluation of Switzerland’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments.


The Working Group recommends that Switzerland:

  • Better equip law enforcement authorities by way of specialised training on the enforcement of corporate criminal liability; 
  • Establish systematic mechanisms allowing for the exclusion of companies convicted of corruption from public procurement and official development assistance contracts;
  • Review its policy concerning small facilitation payments to foreign public officials;
  • Undertake awareness raising on the risks of foreign bribery that is even more targeted towards Swiss SMEs that are active in foreign markets; 
  • Adopt a regulatory framework to protect whistleblowers in the private sector that report in good faith and on reasonable grounds suspected acts of foreign bribery.

The report also highlights positive aspects of Switzerland’s efforts to combat foreign bribery, and notes in particular its proactive policy on the confiscation of the bribe and proceeds of foreign bribery, as well as the restitution of illicit assets that are held in Switzerland. The Working Group congratulates Switzerland for its effort to respond to requests for mutual legal assistance and considers that these efforts provide a significant contribution to enforcement actions against foreign bribery in other jurisdictions. The Group also welcomes the recent introduction of measures to facilitate detection of suspected foreign bribery cases by law enforcement authorities, such as the introduction of a general obligation for most federal officials to report allegations of foreign bribery, as well as a framework to protect federal officials who report in good faith.


The report, available at, lists all the recommendations of the Working Group to Switzerland, and includes an overview of recent enforcement actions and specific legal, policy and institutional features of Switzerland’s framework to combat foreign bribery. As with other Working Group members – which include the 34 OECD member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, South Africa, and Russia -  Switzerland will submit a written report within two years on steps it has taken to implement all recommendations. This written report will also be made publicly available.


For further information, journalists are invited to contact Mary Crane-Charef, OECD Anti-Corruption Division Communications Officer, e-mail ; (33) 1 45 24 97 04. For more information on the OECD’s work to fight corruption, please visit


Related Documents