24/02/2016 - The OECD Working Group on Bribery expresses its serious concern with Finland’s continued failure to implement the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. In addition, the Working Group is troubled by the difficulties that Finland has encountered in effectively enforcing its laws against the bribery of foreign public officials.
In its October 2010 Phase 3 report, the Working Group issued 19 recommendations that were designed to raise awareness in Finland about foreign bribery and to promote the prevention, detection, and prosecution of foreign bribery offences. The Working Group has determined that Finland has fully implemented only six recommendations over the last five years, leaving two-thirds of the recommendations either not implemented at all or only partially implemented.
The Working Group is disappointed by Finland’s lack of real progress in making the legislative reforms needed to implement key recommendations. The Working Group is particularly concerned by Finland’s failure to amend the definition of foreign public official and to ensure adequate limitation periods for prosecutions of foreign bribery offences. Finland has not introduced genuine whistle-blower protections for those who—in good faith and on reasonable grounds—report suspected instances of foreign bribery. Moreover, companies are still not liable for false accounting offences, although Finland has recently informed the Working Group that a bill to correct this shortcoming is scheduled to be submitted to Parliament in the first half of 2016.
Finally, while recognising the clear efforts of Finnish investigators and prosecutors to bring foreign bribery cases to trial, the Working Group remains concerned with Finland’s poor enforcement record. Defendants have been acquitted of foreign bribery charges in all four of the cases that have been finally concluded in Finland—even though foreign public officials have been convicted in their home country for a bribery scheme connected with a Finnish company. The Working Group believes that full implementation of its recommendations will improve Finland’s enforcement efforts in the future.
The Working Group thus calls on Finland to demonstrate the political will to implement all of the outstanding Phase 3 recommendations without further delay. To this end, the Working Group has invited Finland to prepare a written report on its progress in implementing these recommendations by October 2016. If Finland does not demonstrate significant progress by that time, the Working Group reserves the right to consider additional measures.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Daisy Pelham of the OECD Anti-Corruption Division (Daisy.Pelham@oecd.org ; +33 (0)1 45 24 90 81) or the OECD Media Division (+33 (0)1 45 24 97 00).
For more information on the implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in Finland, please visit: http://www.oecd.org/corruption/finland-oecdanti-briberyconvention.htm.
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