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

GDP growth: -9.8% Q2/Q1 2020 2020
Consumer price inflation: 1.3% Sep 2020 annual
Trade (G20): -17.7% exp, -16.7% imp, Q2/Q1 2020
Unemployment: 7.3% Sep 2020
Last update: 10 Nov 2020

OECD Observer Newsletter

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

Twitter feed

Digital Editions

Don't miss

Most Popular Articles

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 2020