The OECD Working Group on Bribery has repeatedly recommended since 2012 that Russia rectify key legislative deficiencies in order to comply with the Convention on Combating the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (Anti-Bribery Convention). Russia must also increase foreign bribery enforcement, having failed to investigate or prosecute a case involving the bribery of foreign public officials in the seven years since ratifying the Anti-Bribery Convention.
On 18-19 April 2019, an OECD Working Group on Bribery high-level mission discussed these serious issues with senior Russian officials from the Ministry of Justice, Investigative Committee and General Prosecutors’ Office, Presidential Administration, Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow.
“We thank the Russian authorities for their cooperation and note that Russia could play an important role in the global fight against foreign bribery,” said Drago Kos, Chair of the Working Group on Bribery. “But to do this, Russia must focus its immediate efforts on filling in the legal gaps identified by the Working Group, and stepping up the investigation and prosecution of alleged cases of foreign bribery. Inter-agency cooperation in the fight against corruption could also be improved. Therefore, we welcome the initiative of the Russian authorities to set up a multi-agency task force led by the Ministry of Justice to strengthen enforcement of the Anti-Bribery Convention.”
The Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, Alexander Konovalov, stressed that Russia takes its international commitments seriously, including the recommendations of the OECD Working Group on Bribery, and has taken various steps to implement the remaining recommendations. Minister Konovalov highlighted the adoption of new laws, the submission of draft laws to the State Duma, as well as a recent Supreme Court decision with implications for the fight against foreign bribery.
The Working Group on Bribery – made up of the 36 OECD Member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Russia and South Africa – comprises the Parties to the Anti-Bribery Convention. The Working Group decided to send a high-level mission to Russia to meet Ministers and senior officials, and to further engage with the Russian authorities to urge them to take the necessary steps to implement the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The high-level mission was led by Drago Kos, Chair of the Working Group, and included experts from Austria, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United States, along with members of the OECD Secretariat. The most recent evaluation of Russia took place in October 2013, and the outcomes of the high-level mission will be discussed by the Working Group at its next meeting in June 2019.