Bribery of foreign officials is a fact of life

Money talks Credit: Kiwiev CC

BRIBERY of foreign officials is a fact of life but according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Spain has an appalling record of dealing with it!

Since the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention entered into force over 20 years ago, Spain has successfully convicted only two individuals in one foreign bribery case and has not convicted a single company.

The 44-country Working Group has just completed its Phase 4 evaluation of Spain’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments.

The conclusion was that Spain continues to close cases prematurely. Prosecutors have insufficient time to conduct their investigations and face challenges in deploying adequate investigative measures.

In addition to the issues described above, the report expresses concerns about the restrictive interpretation of the foreign bribery offence by Spanish judges, the exceedingly short statute of limitations applicable to proceedings against legal persons, and how corporate criminal liability is triggered in practice.

Speaking exclusively to Euro Weekly News, a retired senior British company director explained that several years ago he had been invited to Nigeria to sign a contract with the country’s Central Bank but after arriving in Abuja found himself being stalled.

He eventually discovered that an attractive young lady who worked for a Spanish Government Agency had arrived and spent some time with a deputy Governor who inexplicably signed the very same contract with her organisation.

Bribery has been so common, that the same individual once had to complete an official Government tender document in the Indian sub-continent that required the value of any bribe to be stated in the document.

In fairness many forms of aid, especially to so called ‘third world’ countries are tied up with terms which are beneficial to the political or economic benefit of the Government granting the aid, which in itself is a legalised form of bribery.

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