24/06/2015 – Israel is not sufficiently proactive in detecting and investigating foreign bribery, with no prosecutions over the past 7 years, despite 14 allegations of foreign bribery involving Israeli individuals or companies. The OECD Working Group on Bribery is, however, encouraged by the recently-opened investigations, and will pay close attention to how these evolve.
The OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed its report on Israel’s implementation and enforcement of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and related instruments. The report emphasises the Working Group’s serious concern regarding the limited investigative steps taken in foreign bribery cases.
The Group made a range of recommendations, including that Israel should:
- Thoroughly investigate foreign bribery allegations including in respect of corporations where appropriate;
- Increase foreign bribery training and guidance for law enforcement authorities;
- Enhance detection capacities by encouraging whistleblowing, and improving training and awareness of actors involved in the detection of foreign bribery; and
- Continue raising awareness of foreign bribery, particularly amongst companies operating in high-risk industries.
The report also highlights positive developments in Israel’s efforts to fight foreign bribery. The establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Team on foreign bribery is an encouraging step which could contribute to increased enforcement. Israel has also been successful in independently detecting some allegations from a variety of sources, which could lead to more foreign bribery cases coming to light. The anti-corruption framework has also been enhanced, with the adoption of increased sanctions for foreign bribery, improved whistleblower protection, and explicit prohibition of the tax deductibility of bribes. Since its last report, Israel has also consistently continued to raise awareness of foreign bribery and been actively promoting anti-corruption compliance programmes among companies.
The Working Group on Bribery – made up of the 34 OECD Member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Latvia, Russia and South Africa – adopted Israel’s report in its third phase of monitoring implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The report, available here, lists all the recommendations of the Working Group to Israel on pages 63-67, and includes an overview of recent enforcement activity and specific legal, policy and institutional features of Israel’s framework for fighting foreign bribery. The Report invites Israel to report in writing in one year on progress on enforcing its foreign bribery offence. According to the normal procedure, Israel will also submit a written report to the Working Group within two years on steps taken to implement the new recommendations. This report will also be made publicly available.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Spencer Wilson, OECD Media Division (tel. + 33 1 45 24 81 18).
More information on Israel and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention is available at http://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/israel-oecdanti-briberyconvention.htm.
For more information on OECD’s work to fight corruption, please visit www.oecd.org/corruption.