The OECD Convention on combating bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions has been in force since 1999. The Convention is expected to contribute to reducing corruption in international business transactions and maintaining the integrity of the financial system. According to the OECD, it is an effective tool against foreign bribery. 33 of the 34 signatory parties have ratified the convention. In May 2002, a first report on the monitoring of the convention was issued. The monitoring process confirmed that, generally, the legislation of the countries reviewed conforms to the standards of the convention. However, the report does not say how well the legislation is enforced.
At the same time as the OECD published its report on the monitoring of the bribery convention, the campaign group Transparency International released its Bribe Payers Index (BPI) 2002. It shows that companies’ practice of using bribes is continuing. The countries heading the bribery list are Russia, China, Italy, USA, France and Hong Kong. Companies from Australia, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria are least likely to use bribes to win business opportunities. The industry sectors most affected by bribery are public works/construction and arms and defence sectors.
Transparency International Chairman Peter Eigen said that: “Politicians and public officials from the world’s leading industrial countries are ignoring the rot in their own backyards and the criminal bribe-paying activities of multinational firms headquartered in their countries, while increasingly focusing on the high level of corruption in developing countries”.