by Luke Balleny
In a largely critical report on the country’s implementation and enforcement of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, the Paris-based OECD described the country’s enforcement efforts as “weak”.
“Only 13 foreign bribery allegations have surfaced, and sanctions have been imposed in just one case that falls within Article 1 of (the) Convention,” the report said.
“The lone case that was prosecuted resulted in a settlement with a company, but not for foreign bribery,” the report added.
Denmark is usually considered to be relatively corruption-free – it was ranked the least corrupt nation on watchdog Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, which ranks countries on perceptions of public corruption.
OECD made further recommendations, including to:
Review the overall approach to foreign bribery enforcement
Raise the maximum penalties for foreign bribery and false accounting
Clarify the defence of small facilitation payments and discourage companies from making such payments
Better protect whistleblowers in the public and private sectors
Promptly extend the Convention to Greenland and the Faroe Islands
However, the OECD Working Group on Bribery, which wrote the report, evaluates the laws that govern the paying of bribes abroad by domestic companies, not perceptions of domestic corruption.
The report also criticised Denmark for failing to implement recommendations that the Working Group had made in an earlier evaluation visit, including the recommendation that Denmark increase the maximum sanctions for those who pay bribes abroad.
However, Denmark has shown some positive steps in combating foreign bribery. It has put in place mechanisms for obtaining bank and tax information and efforts have been taken to raise awareness of foreign bribery, the report said.
The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention has been described as “the gold standard” of anti-bribery conventions by Transparency International and includes a rigorous peer-led monitoring and evaluation process to ensure each country is fulfilling its obligations under the convention.
In addition to the OECD’s 34 member countries, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, South Africa, Russia and Colombia have also joined the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.