22/06/2017 – The Czech Republic must strengthen its efforts to detect, investigate and prosecute foreign bribery. Seventeen years after ratifying the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, the Czech Republic has yet to prosecute a case involving the bribery of foreign public officials. This is a cause for concern, especially considering the export-oriented nature of the Czech economy, which includes high-risk sectors for bribery including machinery and defence materials. A new OECD report therefore focuses on identifying solutions to meet these challenges.
The Working Group on Bribery has just completed its Phase 4 evaluation on the Czech Republic’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments. The report highlights the Czech Republic’s strong determination to improve its system for combating foreign bribery. It also identifies several law enforcement practices or tools employed by the Czech Republic that could potentially increase foreign bribery enforcement, including: detecting allegations through foreign requests for legal assistance, the use of non-financial forms of evidence, joint investigative teams with foreign authorities, and central registries for bank accounts and beneficial ownership information. The report also makes recommendations to:
- Ensure the availability of adequate analytical resources for investigating foreign bribery cases;
- Support efforts by non-financial obliged entities to detect and report suspicions of money laundering related to foreign bribery, such as those in the real-estate and gambling sectors, tax advisors, and legal professionals;
- Clarify the new exemption from criminal liability for companies that have taken ‘justly required’ efforts;
- Adopt legislation to increase the independence of the prosecution authorities; and
- Adopt appropriate whistleblower protections in the private sphere.
The report also recognises that the Czech Republic has successfully implemented recommendations from its Phase 3 evaluation in 2013 to raise awareness among various stakeholders about foreign bribery and related issues, such as the non-tax deductibility of bribe payments. It also developed more comprehensive statistics on sanctions for corruption applied in practice, which facilitated the Working Group’s assessment of this area.
The Working Group, which is composed of 44 members, adopted the report on 15 June 2017, including recommendations made to the Czech Republic on pages 44-46. In accordance with standard procedures, the Czech Republic will be invited to submit a written report to the Working Group on the steps taken to implement these recommendations.
This report, available here, is part of the OECD Working Group on Bribery’s fourth phase of monitoring, which was launched in 2016. Phase 4 examines the evaluated country’s particular challenges and positive achievements. It also explores issues such as detection, enforcement, corporate liability, and international cooperation, as well as unresolved issues from prior Working Group evaluations.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Daisy Pelham (+33 (0)1 45 24 90 81). For more information on the OECD’s work to fight corruption, please visit www.oecd.org/corruption.
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