18/10/2010 - Finland needs to take urgent steps to raise awareness among Finnish companies that they are criminally liable under Finnish law if they, or their local agents or subsidiaries on their behalf, bribe public officials when doing business abroad, according to a new report by the OECD Working Group on Bribery.
In the context of its regular cycle of reviews, the 38-country OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed a review of Finland’s enforcement of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments.
Other main recommendations of the Group are that Finland should:
amend the Criminal Code definition of foreign public official to include a person holding a legislative office in a foreign country;
establish corporate liability for accounting and auditing offences;
introduce measures to facilitate reporting by public officials to law enforcement authorities of suspected acts of foreign bribery;
address the lack of whistleblower protection by introducing mechanisms to ensure that public and private sector employees who report in good faith and on reasonable grounds are protected from discriminatory or disciplinary action.
The Working Group also highlighted positive aspects of Finland’s efforts to fight foreign bribery. These include: promising enforcement efforts, with six cases of suspected foreign bribery currently under investigation in Finland; a proactive approach to obtaining the cooperation of relevant foreign authorities in asset recovery; and bilateral anti-corruption work with China and the Russian Federation.
Finland’s report is the first to be adopted by the Working Group under its new third phase of monitoring. It is available at www.oecd.org/daf/nocorruption lists all the recommendations of the Working Group on pages 31-34, and includes an overview of recent enforcement action and specific legal and policy features in Finland for combating the bribery of foreign public officials. Finland will make an oral follow-up report on its actions to implement certain key recommendations of the Working Group after one year. Finland will further submit a written report to the Working Group within two years, which will be the basis of a publicly available evaluation by the Working Group of Finland’s implementation of the recommendations.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Leah Ambler of the OECD’s Anti-Corruption Division on (Tel.: +33 1 45 24 99 64 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information on OECD’s work to fight corruption, visit www.oecd.org/daf/nocorruption.