Quelle Horrreur! French officials open to bribery

According to the OECD, France lacks the both the means and the will to properly tackle corporate bribery of foreign officials

by Natalie Glanvill on 24 October 2012 10:09

Bribery

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has expressed serious concern towards France’s relaxed approach to foreign bribery despite the country's significant role in the international economy.

Since France’s bribery ban came into force in 2000, only 33 foreign bribery investigations and five convictions have been handed down by the French government.

The OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Transactions report on France criticises the country for being far too easy on foreign bribery.

“France lacks the both the means and the will to properly tackle corporate bribery of foreign officials”, an OECD panel in Paris said today.

The Paris-based OECD group warned France that “companies and their subsidies cannot avoid criminal liability. The applied and available penalties, along with the lack of any recourse to measures to confiscate the proceeds of corruption do not appear to be effective, proportionate or dissuasive”.

A 1997 convention to combat bribery in international business transactions has been signed by 39 countries – most of the industrialised world except China and India. The Working Group recommends France “removes” specific legislative changes made in 2007 and 2011 which were aimed at further combating corruption as it “regrets” that the changes “did not lead to the elimination of the dual criminality requirement”.

“The Working Group also regrets the special regime of common law that prohibits victims of foreign bribery (except corruption occurring within the EU) from being civil parties to proceedings and therefore initiating criminal cases”.

Although French authorities have not breached the convention, a “systematic narrow interpretation of the offence”, the inability to “pursue foreign bribery cases on the grounds they took place outside of French jurisdiction but could be tracked back to France”, and “limited resources available” all contribute to France’s inability to properly tackle foreign bribery. Quelle surprise.

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