Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union

Query

Which countries have passed anti-bribery legislation recently, what are their key features, and what global trends do we detect in such legislation?

Note

This answer is also available in French.

Content

  1. Examples of countries that have recently passed anti-bribery legislation
  2. Global trends in new anti-bribery legislation

Summary

Among other things, international conventions such as the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), require signatory-countries to criminalise foreign bribery and cooperate with other countries during investigations. These conventions have played a major role in triggering and guiding recent domestic reforms, as the great majority of countries which have recently approved new anti-bribery regulation have done so to comply with the requirements of such conventions.

These countries include countries long regarded as having a corrupt business environment, such as Russia and China. Other countries such as Chile, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Peru, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine have also adopted new bribery related regulations in the past two years, while Brazil, India and Indonesia are currently discussing proposals to improve their anticorruption legal framework.

The criminalisation of foreign bribery is among the most important trends that can be detected in these new regulations, with the majority of countries either criminalising foreign bribery (e.g.: China, Russia, Chile), or clarifying the scope of existing laws (e.g. Spain, Ireland, Israel). The issue of corporate liability also emerges as a trend, with a significant number of countries introducing criminal liability for legal entities (e.g.: Luxembourg, Slovak), and one country introducing (only) administrative liability for legal entities (Russia). Last but not least, several countries have adopted stronger penalties for bribery of both domestic and foreign public officials. Other changes include the criminalisation of commercial bribery (Ukraine/Russia), whistleblower protection (Ireland/Turkey), and the extension of the prescription period (Spain).

Authors

Maíra Martini, Transparency International, mmartini@transparency.org

Date

07/03/2012

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