Analysis
20 January 2021

Anti-corruption developments in jurisdictions around the world

International Bar Association Asset Recovery and Anti-Corruption Committees invited anti-corruption experts from around the world to meet in Paris to discuss the latest anti-corruption developments in their jurisdictions.

 

Within the framework of the 17th Annual IBA Anti-Corruption Conference, the IBA Asset Recovery Subcommittee and the IBA Anti-Corruption Committee invited anti-corruption experts from around the world to NAVACELLE’s offices in Paris to discuss the latest anti-corruption developments in their jurisdictions.

The panel was chaired by the Senior Vice-Chair of the IBA Asset Recovery Subcommittee, Kate Mc Mahon , was released during the 2020 IBA meeting “Virtually Together”, and brought together a multitude of speakers – James Tillen, Partner at Miller & Chevalier Washington DC, Kara Brockmeyer, Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Sabine Stetter, Managing Partner at Stetter Rechtsanwälte, Leopoldo Pagotto, Partner at FreitasLeite Advogados, Leah Ambler, Partner at RE/MAX Professionals Inc. and Stephane de Navacelle, Partner at NAVACELLE.

 

1. Overview: anti-corruption laws around the word

 

United Kingdom

In the UK, the Bribery Act 2010 came into force in July 2011 (…) to deal with corruption”, Kate Mc Mahon.

The Serious Fraud Office is the primary organization that deals with corruption in our country”, Kate Mc Mahon.

 

United States

The Foreign Corruption Act (FCPA) enacted in 1977 (…) prohibits covered entities and individuals from providing anything of value directly or indirectly to non-us officials to obtain a benefit”, James Tillen.

The FCPA doesn’t prohibit either commercial bribery or the taking of a bribe, it only prohibits the giving of a bribe. The US Government research other conduct such as the taking of a bribe or commercial bribery to other statutes such as the money laundering statutes”, Kara Brockmeyer.

 

Germany

The anti-corruption provisions concerning governmental officials have been in place in Germany for more than one hundred years”, Sabine Stetter.

Regarding the anti-corruption provisions concerning the private business sector, two different situations need to be distinguished. On the one hand, it is prohibited that advantages are being granted which can, in an abstract general sense, have an impact on competition. On the other hand, it is prohibited to grant advantages in order to make employees of companies breach their duties with regard to the company”, Sabine Stetter.

In Germany, the Public Prosecutor’s Offices are in charge of investigating corruption. There are special units which do nothing else but investigate corruption”, Sabine Stetter.

 

France

A law was passed, [four] years ago in December 2016, which we globally called the Sapin II Law”, Stephane de Navacelle.

It’s a huge change for us in France. The goal is to mirror the USA FCPA and the UK Bribery Act”, Stephane de Navacelle.

What it does, in a very French approach of the issue, is create a specific legal obligation with specific criteria for compliance system for companies (…) monitored by a specifically newly created agency, the Agence Française Anti-Corruption (AFA)”, Stephane de Navacelle.

 

Brazil

Brazil has had anti-corruption legislation for several decades. However, enforcement was ineffective. This scenario began to change in 2014 when Car Wash Operation started. It is the largest anti-corruption investigation that the world has ever seen”, Leopoldo Pagotto.

Brazil legislation has ruled out pretty much the same conduct, which is prohibited in most countries, the payment of improper advantage to public officers is considered as a criminal offense and also a civil and administrative offense for a corporation”, Leopoldo Pagotto.

As regard companies, the enforcement is made by several administrative and quasi-judicial bodies (…) the main body is CGO which is in charge of prosecuting the companies involved in corruption scandals”, Leopoldo Pagotto.

 

2. Overview: anti-corruption cases around the word

 

United-States

One recent case that highlights the scope of the FCPA and a recent phenomenal coordination settlement with the US Government and other countries, is Keppel Marine Offshore. Keppel Marine Offshore is a Singaporean company and has a US subsidiary and the parent entered into deferred prosecution agreement with US authorities relating to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of FCPAThe US subsidiary entered into a plea agreement on the same charges”, James Tillen.

Relatively recently, the US and other countries brought an action against two telecommunications companies: VimpelCom and Telia. All torts, the two companies paid 1.76 billion dollars to resolve charges that they bribed the daughter of the former president of Uzbekistan (…) the reason why these actions are interesting is that these actions did not just bind the United States but also there was a parallel with other countries, the VimpelCom action was the first time that the US took action with the NetherlandsKara Brockmeyer.

 

Germany

Probably the most important corruption scandal in Germany is still the Siemens scandal. The investigation by the Public Prosecutor Office in Munich in Germany started in 2006 with spectacular searches. There was also an investigation by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States”, Sabine Stetter.

In Germany, there is no corporate criminal liability, but we have a provision that led to corporate fines and disgorgement. Siemens had to pay two fines: one fine in the amount of 201 million euros and the other fine was 395 million euros which were actually for the lack of supervision due to a compliance system which was insufficient”, Sabine Stetter.

 

Brazil

Car Wash Operations has been led mostly by the federal police and the federal prosecutor. It started out of an investigation about money laundering (…). But after investigations, it became clear that this scam was much larger than just money laundering operations”, Leopoldo Pagotto.

It’s very hard to estimate how much money has been lost by the Brazilian government as a result of corruption. Economists have tried to make estimates but all of them are very limited in scope. So far, more than 3 billion dollars have been recovered”, Leopoldo Pagotto.

 

3. In practice: eliminating corruption

A global and consistent standard against corruption around the world is vital to eliminating this crime, and what is needed is the harmonization of laws across jurisdictions so everyone is playing by the same rules”, Leah Ambler.

Foreign corruption cases are one of the few areas where there are incredibility difficult cases to investigate and prosecute without the cooperation of other states (…) it is vitally important that there be a consistent standard that is applied by prosecutors across every jurisdictionKara Brockmeyer.

A global and consistent anti-Corruption enforcement is important because there is globalization nowadays (…) it means that anyone can transfer money and proceed with crimes from one country to the other in less than two or three minutesThis makes asset tracking and punishment of individuals and companies involved very difficult”, Leopoldo Pagotto.

It is very important to make sure law enforcement works in all countries all over the world when it comes to corruption. Local law enforcement is something that is taken very seriously and it is an important factor in the fight against corruption worldwide”, Sabine Stetter.

The participation of civil society is also an important factor to decrease corruption. In the past years, the increasing awareness about corruption led the population to engage in a serious civic campaign to change and amend legislation (…) this is how actually democracy can work in the fight against corruption”, Leopoldo Pagotto.

The large part due to the effort of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Many other countries have now similar anti-corruption laws and are enforcing them”, James Tillen.

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