НАСТОЯЩИЙ МАТЕРИАЛ (ИНФОРМАЦИЯ) ПРОИЗВЕДЕН, РАСПРОСТРАНЕН И (ИЛИ) НАПРАВЛЕН ИНОСТРАННЫМ АГЕНТОМ АНО "ЦЕНТР "ТИ-Р"
The new report published on October 11, 2022 by Transparency International movement puts Russia in the category of countries with little to no enforcement of laws against foreign bribery.
Exporting Corruption, first published in 2005, assesses the enforcement efforts of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention countries in the period 2018-2021 and puts these countries in one of the four categories: active, moderate, limited, and little or no enforcement. Countries are scored based on enforcement performance at different stages – i.e., number of investigations commenced, charges filed, and cases concluded with sanctions. Different weights are assigned according to the stages of enforcement and the significance of cases. Country share of world exports is factored in. Within bands, countries are listed in order of share of world exports. Together, the 47 countries analyzed make up 84 % of global exports.
- Active enforcement has significantly decreased since the 2020 report, with the United States and Switzerland now the only two countries in this category. Together, they account for 11.8 % of global exports. This compares to four active enforcers in 2020, accounting for 16.5 % of global exports and seven active enforcers in 2018, accounting for 27 % of global exports.
- Moderate enforcement is also down from nine countries representing 20.2 % of global exports in 2020 to seven countries accounting for 16.9 % of exports in 2022.
- One major exporter and enforcer representing 3.4 % of global exports – the United Kingdom – moved down, together with Israel, from active enforcement in the 2020 report to moderate enforcement this year.
- Five countries accounting for 5.9 % of global exports dropped from moderate to limited enforcement: Italy continued its decline, slipping from moderate enforcement; Spain reversed its previous advance to moderate enforcement in 2020; Brazil, Sweden and Portugal also dropped into the limited category. Lastly, Denmark and Lithuania declined in enforcement in 2022, falling to the lowest category of little or no enforcement.
- Only two countries have improved their level of enforcement since the 2020 report: Latvia, which moved up from limited to moderate enforcement, and Peru, which rose to limited enforcement from the bottom rung of little or no enforcement.
Key findings of the report are as follows:
- Enforcement continues to decline significantly.
- No country is exempt from bribery by its nationals and related money laundering.
- Inadequacies remain in legal frameworks and enforcement systems. These include problems related to whistleblower protection, the level of sanctions, a lack of training and resources, the underfunding of key enforcement agencies, poor inter-agency coordination, and – in some countries – the insufficient independence of prosecution services and the courts. The persistence of these problems in laws and institutions points to the low priority currently given by national authorities to tackling foreign bribery.
- Most countries fail to publish adequate enforcement information.
- Victims’ compensation is still rare. As a general rule, any confiscated proceeds of corruption and disgorged profits in foreign bribery cases go into the treasury of the host states of multinationals.
- International cooperation is increasing but still faces significant obstacles, such as insufficient or incompatible legal frameworks, limited resources and know-how, a lack of coordination, long delays, and absence of published statistics on mutual legal assistance requests made and received.
Considering Russia’s score, the report notes that in the period 2018-2021, Russia opened one investigation, commenced no cases and concluded no cases. No substantive response was provided by the Russian authorities to our requests for information.
There is no central public register of the beneficial ownership of companies. Another key weakness is the lack of criminal liability for corporations. Finally, there is a lack of public awareness-raising since the government gives no priority to tackling corruption in exports, and Russia has significantly decreased its level of corporate transparency. In March 2022, the national bank issued a regulation revoking an earlier regulation that required commercial banks to publish information on their shareholders, top management, board of directors, any reorganisations, etc., as well as their accounting reports. Since 2021, several types of legal entities, including NGOs, have been allowed not to disclose their shareholders or founders. The decrease in transparency undermines the possibilities for civic investigations of foreign bribery.
There is also a lack of whistleblower protection, with no legislation at all on the subject.
The government no longer promotes such legislation. The latest proposal was withdrawn from the State Duma in June 2019, even though the August 2021 National Anti-Corruption Plan has once again suggested analyzing the possibility of protective measures.
The Russian Federation publishes criminal enforcement statistics, but there are no published statistics on foreign bribery enforcement. Nor are there specific statistics on MLA requests concerning foreign bribery.
There are no known examples of efforts to seek compensation through the courts in any corruption cases. The government through the prosecution service seeks compensation from bribe-payers, but such proceedings are conducted exclusively in the interests of the government budget.
Meanwhile at least two foreign bribery cases involving Russian telecom companies, namely MTS and VimpelCom, gained global prominence as a part of the Telecom scandal. In the 2010s, both companies implicated in bribing Gulnara Karimova, daughter of then-President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, agreed to pay millions of US dollars in settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice and SEC. Now it has been 10 years since the related cases were first opened. Yet not a single person or legal entity has been held responsible for these instances of foreign bribery under the Russian law.
Transparency International Russia will file a report of crime with the Investigative Committee of Russia, which is tasked with foreign bribery investigations. We hope that the investigation of these cases, which are already well documented, acknowledged and settled by both companies outside of Russia, will help set in motion the enforcement of national laws against foreign bribery.
Recommendations for Russia
- Create a centralized public registry of beneficial owners of companies.
- Criminalize non-tangible bribery, the promising and offering of a bribe irrespective of the gravity of the offense.
- Provide information on the work done by the task force set up by the Ministry of Justice on foreign bribery enforcement.
- Propose to the State Duma new whistleblower protection legislation for both the public and private sectors.
- Introduce incentives for companies to introduce anti-corruption compliance measures and introduce sanctions for non-compliance.
- Exclude effective regret relief in respect of foreign bribery crimes, as has already been done in respect to the administrative liability of legal entities.
- Create a special task force within the Investigative Committee to handle foreign bribery cases.
- Improve training and conduct capacity-building exercises for investigators to prosecute cases of foreign bribery.
- Prioritize the investigation and prosecution of complex money-laundering cases.
- Provide a legal framework for civil lawsuits for corruption damages for non-governmental actors.
You can read the report in full on Transparency International website.