Bribery and corruption

Statement by Drago Kos, Chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery, on the 20th anniversary of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention


12/12/2017 - Corruption facilitates some of the most important global threats of our time, such as terrorism, climate change and the refugee crisis. It’s vital that we ramp up our fight to contain this threat to our economies and societies.


In the 20 years since the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention was established, the 43 member states have all adopted the legislation needed to fight foreign bribery. These include the laws of liability on legal persons; making bribes non tax deductible; having effective, and sometimes specialised, anti-corruption agencies in place; and we have started to reach the companies many previously considered untouchable.


Since the entry into force of the Convention, 443 individuals and 158 entities have been sanctioned under criminal proceedings for foreign bribery. We have seen some particularly strong signs of progress in recent years. In 2016, around 500 investigations were underway in 29 countries, an increase of around 100 on 2015. In addition to the positive example set by leading countries like Germany and the United States, we have also seen others, namely France, Italy and the Netherlands, step up their efforts in the past two years. But too many countries are still lagging behind in investigating, prosecuting and enforcing their laws around foreign bribery and corruption. Of the 43 parties to the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, 23 have yet to conclude a single foreign bribery enforcement action.


A new report released at today’s event in Paris to mark the 20th anniversary of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, The Detection of Foreign Bribery, outlines other critical areas where improvements are needed. Whistleblowers have an important role to play in revealing foreign bribery cases and often provide pivotal evidence for a successful prosecution. Yet two thirds of adhering countries still do not provide satisfactory protection. This needs to change and will become a priority issue in the upcoming Working Group on Bribery country evaluations. Tax authorities also have an important role to play and countries need to ensure that their tax authorities are able to share information with law enforcement authorities. 


Adherence to the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention is growing but we still need all major economies on board if we are ever to achieve a truly global level playing field. Working together, we are stronger than working alone and that is why we will seek ways to enhance the involvement of the business sector and civil society in our efforts. I remain confident that we will continue making progress to contain corruption.


The report, The Detection of Foreign Bribery, is available at


An infographic timeline of the Convention is available at


For an overview of OECD work on anti-corruption please visit


Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.


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