15/12/2022 - In view of Finland’s continued insufficient compliance with a core aspect of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and Finland’s lack of enforcement of its foreign bribery laws, the OECD Working Group on Bribery will send a high-level mission to Helsinki, unless tangible progress is reported in June 2023.
The Working Group remains seriously concerned about the lack of foreign bribery enforcement in Finland. No foreign bribery case has been detected, investigated or prosecuted since the adoption of the country’s Phase 4 evaluation report in 2017. As noted in the Phase 4 report, the series of acquittals in foreign bribery cases, between 2013 and 2016, may have discouraged law enforcement authorities and prosecutors to continue to take all necessary steps to detect, investigate and prosecute this offence.
In the Phase 4 evaluation report, the Working Group expressed significant concerns about the court’s interpretation of the evidence required to prove the foreign bribery offence in the cases that resulted in acquittals. To implement the relevant recommendation, in 2021, Finland commissioned an independent study to review these decisions and conduct a benchmark assessment of the evidentiary requirements for the foreign bribery offences in other Working Group members. The comprehensive study was published in February 2022. Among other things, it recommended that the foreign bribery offence be revised to remove significant deficiencies that may constitute a major obstacle to Finland’s effective enforcement efforts.
The Working Group is therefore very disappointed that Finland has not yet taken any steps to consider the conclusions of the study, nor given any indication as to when and how these conclusions will be taken forward by Finland. Taking into account the fact that a general election will take place in Finland in April 2023, Finland should report back to the Working Group in June 2023 with a concrete plan to address the issues identified in relation to the foreign bribery offence in the study. The plan should include a precise timeline reflecting the urgency of the situation. Finland should also report on steps taken to enforce the foreign bribery offence.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Amelia Godber of the OECD Anti-Corruption Division.
For more information on the implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in Finland, please visit here.