16/12/2009 - Israel should be more proactive in detecting, investigating and prosecuting foreign bribery cases, notably those involving the defence industry, according to a new report by the OECD Working Group on Bribery. It should also raise sanctions significantly to make them more effective and dissuasive.
The 38-country OECD Working Group on Bribery, in the context of its regular cycle of reviews, has just completed a review of Israel’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 Israel should:
- significantly increase sanctions for foreign bribery for legal persons, as well as sanctions for natural persons;
- boost the existing resources dedicated to dealing with mutual legal assistance requests;
- establish an obligation on the Military Censor to report to law enforcement authorities information or suspicions of foreign bribery by Israeli companies;
- clarify that tax rules expressly prohibit the deductibility of bribes to foreign public officials;
- raise the profile of foreign bribery in its anti-corruption efforts, and specifically target individuals and companies that operate internationally, as well as entities involved in taxation and accounting and auditing.
The Working Group also highlighted positive aspects of Israel’s efforts to fight foreign bribery. These include: the recent publication by the Attorney General of guidelines on the investigation and prosecution of the foreign bribery offence; the introduction by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of a requirement for diplomatic representatives abroad to report suspected violations of the foreign bribery offence; and the introduction of anti-bribery clauses and declarations by Israel’s export credits agency and the centre for official development assistance.
The report, available here, lists all the recommendations of the Working Group on pages 67-71, and includes an overview of recent enforcement actions and specific legal and policy features in Israel for combating the bribery of foreign public officials.
As with all other OECD Working Group members, Israel will orally report to the Working Group on its actions to implement the Working Group’s recommendations after one year. Israel will submit a written report to the Working Group within two years, which will be the basis of a publicly-available Working Group evaluation of Israel’s implementation of the recommendations.
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For more information on OECD’s work to fight corruption, visit www.oecd.org/daf/nocorruption.