OECD: 4 Takeaways from the 2021 Recommendations of the Council for Further Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions


The OECD – OCDE issued an important update to its 2009 Recommendations on November 26, 2021,that is poised to be a game-changer in global anticorruption enforcement.

Below are 4 key takeaways that ought to be carefully evaluated by countries, financial services providers, gatekeepers, and companies involved in international business transactions, alike.

1Guidance on Anticorruption Compliance:

  • Important new guidance and international best practice on enhancing anti-corruption compliance programs and internal controls was issued.
  • All countries are urged to incentivize companies to invest in compliance.

2-Bribe Takers and Bribe Money:

  • New sections on the “demand” side of bribery and “sanctions and confiscation” were included. This is a significant change from the prior enforcement regime that focused only on bribe “givers”.
  • The OECD will evaluate each country’s progress in prosecuting bribe givers as well as bribe receivers. Seizure of bribe money will also be evaluated.
  • Companies will no longer be singled out for international prosecution, the new focus on bribe receivers might lead to an increased focus on financial services companies and other professional enablers (legal, accounting, real estate firms, notaries etc) that are potentially involved in the transfer of bribe money to the bribe takers.

3-Multijurisdictional Enforcement

  • Countries are encouraged to coordinate investigations early and take steps not to prosecute a defendant for the same conduct in more than one jurisdiction.
  • A new section on non-trial resolutions (ie DPAs and CJIPs) sets the first international standard & legal mechanisms for countries wanting to establish ways of resolving matters without a full criminal trial.

4- Encouraging & Protecting Whistleblowers

  • All countries are urged to establish additional mechanisms to encourage and protect individuals reporting violations of anti-corruption laws.
  • The Revised Recommendations detail the steps to follow to protect the “reporting party,” including preventing or punishing retaliation against the whistleblower.

A more in-depth analysis of these topics will be required in the next few weeks as governments and global enforcement agencies provide additional commentary and guidance.

But certainly, some noteworthy changes on the horizon. -To be followed


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