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Hungary has improved legal framework for fighting foreign bribery, but must do more to detect and prosecute

 

30/03/2012 - Hungary’s law banning bribery of foreign public officials is relatively good on paper but lacks effective application, according to a new OECD report. Hungary must strengthen detection and prosecution of individuals and companies involved in foreign bribery.

Hungary has only successfully prosecuted a single foreign bribery case, finding 26 individuals guilty of small financial bribes, says the report. No companies have been convicted of foreign bribery offences since Hungary joined the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 1998.

In its report on Hungary’s application of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments, the OECD Working Group on Bribery recommends the following steps:

  • Amend its law to strengthen its ability to effectively enforce the foreign bribery offence against legal persons;
  • Ensure that its law applies when a company commits bribery through an agent or intermediary;
  • Proactively investigate and enforce the foreign bribery offence;
  • Raise awareness of the crime of foreign bribery.

The report praises Hungary’s comprehensive legal framework for fighting foreign bribery as it applies to individuals. It commends the hiring of additional prosecutors and establishment of specialised units to handle corruption cases. Hungary has also extended the time period for opening foreign bribery investigations and has passed a law requiring public officials to report foreign bribery offences, according to the report.

The Working Group on Bribery - made up of the 34 OECD Member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Russia and South Africa - adopted Hungary’s report in its third phase of monitoring implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

The Report, available at www.oecd.org/daf/nocorruption, lists all the recommendations of the Working Group to Hungary on page [44-48], and includes an overview of recent enforcement actions and specific legal, policy and institutional features of Hungary’s framework for fighting foreign bribery. As with other Working Group members, Hungary will submit a written report to the Working Group within two years on steps it has taken to implement the new recommendations. This report will also be made publicly available.

>> For further information, journalists are invited to contact Mary Crane-Charef, OECD Anti-Corruption Division, e-mail mary.crane-charef@oecd.org; (33) 1 45 24 97 04.
>> For more information on OECD’s work to fight corruption, please visit www.oecd.org/daf/nocorruption.

 

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