Fighting bribery

The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which entered into force 10 years ago this December, was the first global instrument to fight corruption in cross-border business deals. To date, 30 OECD member countries and eight non-member countries-Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Estonia, Israel, Slovenia and South Africa-have adopted the convention.

In short, the convention makes bribing a foreign public official a punishable crime in all signatory countries-quite a change from just a couple of decades ago when bribes could be deducted from taxes as a business expense. The convention applies to both individuals and companies, and covers offering or promising a bribe, as well as actually giving one.

Under the convention, foreign bribery is a crime regardless of whether the bribe is offered through an intermediary, or whether the advantage is for the foreign public official or a third party, such as a spouse, political party, or company in which the offi cial has an interest. All forms of bribes are prohibited, including tangible or intangible, and pecuniary and nonpecuniary advantages, such as membership in a club or a job in the private sector.

Bribery is a crime even if the person or entity that offered or gave the bribe was the best-qualified bidder in a procurement process and would have been awarded the contract purely on merit. Criminality also applies regardless of whether the bribe was accepted or the official provided the desired advantage, or if bribery is tolerated or even widespread in the country concerned.

The convention also establishes an openended, peer-driven monitoring mechanism to ensure that the signatory countries thoroughly meet their international obligations. The rigorous evaluation process, which Transparency International calls the "gold standard" of monitoring, is conducted by the OECD Working Group on Bribery.

Visit and

© OECD Observer, No. 275, November 2009

Economic data


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • How do the largest community of British expats living in Spain feel about Brexit? Britons living in Orihuela Costa, Alicante give their views.
  • Brexit is taking up Europe's energy and focus, according to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. Watch video.
  • OECD Chief Economist Catherine Mann and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King discuss the economic merits of a US border adjustment tax and the outlook for US economic growth.
  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2017