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The Detection of Foreign Bribery

The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention focuses on enforcement through the criminalisation of foreign bribery but it is multidisciplinary and includes key requirements to combat money laundering, accounting fraud, and tax evasion connected to foreign bribery. The first step, however, in enforcing foreign bribery and related offences is effective detection. This study looks at the primary sources of detection for the foreign bribery offence and the role that certain public agencies and private sector actors can play in uncovering this crime. It examines the practices developed in different sectors and countries which have led to the successful detection of foreign bribery with a view to sharing good practices and improving countries’ capacity to detect and ultimately step-up efforts against transnational bribery. The study covers a wide range of potential sources for detecting foreign bribery: self-reporting; whistleblowers and whistleblower protection; confidential informants and cooperating witnesses; media and investigative journalism; tax authorities; financial intelligence units; other government agencies; criminal and other legal proceedings; international co-operation and professional advisers.

Published on December 12, 2017

Key findings

While investigations and prosecutions under the Anti-Bribery Convention are on the rise year after year, many countries have yet to conclude a foreign bribery enforcement action. To improve enforcement of the foreign bribery offence, the first step – and challenge – is the detection of the offence.
The detection of foreign bribery presents law enforcement with the significant challenge of uncovering, investigating and prosecuting an offence which no one few people have any incentive to disclose.
The detection of foreign bribery is a complex process, involving many potential sources, which can make it difficult to identify which source initiated the case.