Sweden must urgently implement reforms to boost fight against foreign bribery


Stockholm, Sweden Solna Centrum Station (Felix Mooneeram, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with OECD.

The OECD Working Group on Bribery has since 2012 repeatedly urged Sweden to reform its laws to ensure the investigation and prosecution of companies that bribe foreign public officials to obtain advantages in international business. Sweden’s legal provisions to hold companies liable for foreign bribery do not fully meet the requirements of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (Anti-Bribery Convention).

On 11-12 June 2019, a High Level Mission of the OECD Working Group on Bribery discussed these serious issues in Stockholm with Minister for Justice and Migration Morgan Johansson, Minister for Foreign Trade with responsibility for Nordic Affairs Ann Linde, and Prosecutor General Petra Lundh. Also present were additional senior Swedish officials from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Prosecution Authority, as well as Members of Parliament. During the high-level mission, Swedish authorities confirmed that new legislation to implement the OECD Working Group on Bribery’s key recommendations will enter into force on 1 January 2020.

“We appreciate the willingness of the Swedish authorities to meet with us and discuss our substantial concerns and we welcome the draft bill presented by Sweden to address the recommendations,” said Drago Kos, Chair of the Working Group on Bribery. “Sweden has the opportunity to address the Working Group’s concerns with the adoption of the recommended reforms of Sweden’s corporate liability laws in January 2020. We hope to see Sweden join the top enforcers of the Anti-Bribery Convention and ensure those who commit foreign bribery are held to account.”

“The reviews and recommendations from the OECD Working Group on Bribery are instrumental in supporting our efforts to combat corruption in all forms. We take our international commitments seriously and I am glad that we have recently presented draft legislation to strengthen our legal framework and to address the recommendations from the OECD”, says Morgan Johansson, Minister of Justice and Migration in Sweden.

The Working Group on Bribery – made up of the 36 OECD Member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Russia and South Africa – comprises the Parties to the Anti-Bribery Convention. The Working Group conducts a systematic programme for monitoring implementation of the Convention by all its Parties. The Working Group decided, following an invitation from Sweden, to send a high-level mission to Stockholm to meet with senior officials to reinforce the message that Sweden must adopt the recommended reforms. The next evaluation of Sweden’s implementation of the Anti-Bribery Convention has been delayed pending the enactment of legislation to address the Working Group’s remaining recommendations.


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