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Frozen: Iceland’s cold shoulder steams OECD anti-graft group

Image courtesy of inspiredbyiceland on YouTubeThe OECD Working Group on Bribery said last week it has “serious concerns” about Iceland’s lack of progress fighting bribery of foreign public officials and implementing the OECD anti-bribery convention.

“In 2010, the Working Group made 17 recommendations to Iceland for improving its fight against foreign bribery. By 2012, just 2 of the recommendations had been fully implemented,” the OECD said.

Iceland set up an an inter-ministerial steering group to move the OECD recommendations forward. “Otherwise, Iceland has made little effort” to do what the OECD asked.

“The Working Group is equally disappointed about Iceland’s failure to formally respond to correspondence from the Working Group Chair on two occasions,” the OECD said.

Iceland hasn’t brought any foreign bribery enforcement actions.

The Working Group is especially disappointed that Iceland has not implemented recommendations to effectively criminalize bribery of officials in foreign state-owned entities, and to raise the maximum sanctions against natural persons for foreign bribery. In addition, special investigative techniques continue to be unavailable in foreign bribery cases.

There was more bad news.

The obligation of officials to report foreign bribery has not been clarified. There is no legislation that specifically protects whistleblowers in the private sector. More efforts could also be made to raise awareness of foreign bribery.

The Working Group concluded that Iceland “seriously lacks efforts to adequately implement” the OECD anti-bribery convention.

The OECD gave Iceland until October 2015 to respond in writing.

“The Working Group looks forward to hearing additional progress at that time . . . ,” the OECD said. “Absent significant progress by that time, the Working Group will consider additional measures.”

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here

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