Bribery and corruption

Resolving Foreign Bribery Cases with Non-Trial Resolutions


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20 March 2019




Settlements and Non-Trial Agreements by Parties to the Anti-Bribery Convention


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Ever since the entry into force of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, bribery offences, including the bribery of foreign public officials, have increasingly been resolved through non-trial resolutions. Of the 890 cases concluded under the Anti-Bribery Convention to date, close to 80% have been through non-trial resolutions.


Non-trial resolutions, commonly known as “settlements”, are generally viewed as a pragmatic and efficient way to resolve cases that would otherwise require tremendous time and resources to investigate and prosecute before reaching a court. Advocates for settlements argue that their compromising rather than adversarial nature constitute an incentive for wrongdoers to self-report to prosecutors and increase the prospects of corporate governance reforms. However, they also present legal, institutional and procedural challenges and some experts question their ability to fairly and effectively deliver justice. Questions of transparency, the level of deterrence and victims’ compensation are generally at the heart of these concerns.


This Study is the first cross-country examination of the different types of resolutions that can be used to resolve foreign bribery cases. Covering 27 of the 44 Parties to the Anti-Bribery Convention, the Study documents the non-trial resolution mechanisms available to resolve foreign bribery cases with individuals and/or legal persons with the imposition of sanctions and/or confiscation. The Study was undertaken by the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions. It relies on governmental data gathered through both the rigourous country monitoring process, and a comprehensive survey circulated to all Parties to the Convention. It also relies on the OECD database of concluded foreign bribery cases and specific case studies of the most prominent multi-jurisdictional cases.


This study was launched on 20 March 2019 at the OECD Global Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum.


The study in a nutshell




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