Latvia’s fight against foreign bribery overshadowed by enforcement weaknesses


21/10/2015 - Latvia has improved its laws since acceding to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 2014. Yet serious personnel issues until recently as well as negative government commentary concerning KNAB, Latvia’s anti-corruption law enforcement agency, have cast doubts over its capacity to enforce those laws. Lax enforcement and weak regulation heighten the risk that proceeds of foreign bribery are laundered through Latvian banks, according to a new report by the OECD Working Group on Bribery.

The 41-country OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed its report on Latvia’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments.

The Working Group made recommendations to improve Latvia’s fight against foreign bribery, including:

  • Ensure KNAB is fully functional and not subject to improper government criticism;

  • Proactively investigate foreign bribery;

  • Strengthen and enforce anti-money laundering measures; 

  • Improve legislation on the foreign bribery offence, extradition, corporate liability and external auditor reporting; and 

  • Comprehensively protect public and private sector whistleblowers.

The report also notes positive developments, such as a number of legislative reforms to improve compliance with the Convention, the availability of a wide range of investigative techniques in foreign bribery investigations, the proactive use of international co-operation in corruption cases, and active awareness-raising efforts in the public and private sectors.

The Working Group on Bribery – made up of the 34 OECD Member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Latvia, Russia and South Africa – adopted Latvia’s report in its second phase of monitoring implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The Report, available, lists all of the recommendations of the Working Group to Latvia on pages 72-77, and includes an overview of recent enforcement actions and specific legal, policy and institutional features of Latvia’s framework to fight foreign bribery.

Latvia will report orally to the Working Group in one year on progress made in implementing certain key recommendations. As with other Working Group members, Latvia will also submit a written report to the Working Group within two years on steps it has taken to implement all of the recommendations. This report will be publicly available.

The first in-depth review of Latvia was released in June 2014. More information on Latvia and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention is available at

Information on the OECD’s work on anti-corruption can be found at :

For further information, journalists are invited to contact OECD’s Media Relations Division or +33 (0)1 45 24 97 00.

Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.


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