FCPAméricas Blog

FCPAméricas Interviews The Chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery

Author: Carlos Ayres

KosDrago Kos, the Chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery, leads the Group in its monitoring and evaluation of the laws implementing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention by its Parties. He recently told FCPAméricas what to expect about the Phase 4 Evaluation (previous phases are discussed here), where Latin America fits in the fight of bribery of foreign public officials and key achievements of the OECD-Latin America Anti-Corruption Programme:

What are the pillars of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention’s Phase 4 Evaluation?

In the upcoming Phase 4 Evaluation we will assess our member states’ efforts and results in the following areas:

  • progress on the implementation of outstanding recommendations from previous phases,
  • detection of foreign bribery (incl. protection of whistle-blowers, access to public information, role of the media)
  • enforcement of foreign bribery (incl. new challenges arising from changes made after Phase 3, investigations of concrete cases, law-enforcement resources and expertise, international cooperation, potential undue interference in the enforcement area, enforcement results)
  • engagement with legal persons (incl. responsibility of legal persons and engaging with the private sector).

What are the key differences between Phases 3 and 4?

In the Phase 4 we will use the tailor-made approach, whereby we will not spend too much time and energy of our member states in the areas, where they have proven already in the previous phases that they don’t have too many problems. Contrary to that, we will be very thorough with countries in the areas, where we’ve identified problems, which are not being dealt with satisfactorily.

Contrary to all previous phases, we will not only point at the problems but also try to find some positive examples and best practices of our countries in order to offer their solutions to other interested member states.

Last but not least, everything we will do, will serve one general goal: to increase the overall enforcement results of our member states or – as we use to say – we will focus on “enforcement, enforcement and enforcement”.

Where does Latin America fit in the fight of bribery of foreign public officials?

According to the last Transparency International report, all our Latin American countries, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, fall into the last – the worst – category, with little or no enforcement in the mentioned area. Absence of foreign bribery cases in those big countries is really a cause for serious concerns.

However, course of action of Brazilian authorities in the Petrobras scandal (whereby we hope that political changes in the country will not slow down or even stop the investigations or even the general anti-corruption efforts in the country), announced anti-corruption goals of the current Argentinian government and quick and comprehensive developments in Costa Rica and Peru, countries decisively entering the Working Group on Bribery, do raise a lot of hope that the Latin American continent will soon witness real improvement in the fight against corruption.

What have been the key achievements of the OECD-Latin America Anti-Corruption Programme?

We see many positive changes in the legislative areas, especially in the field of responsibility of legal persons, an area, which is relatively new to the region. Joint OECD and Latin American efforts have also influenced other positive developments in the general anti-corruption area in several South-American countries. There is a simple proof for that: two out of three countries, who will first join the Working Group on Bribery, proving that they are able to cope with very stringent accession criteria, come from the Latin America: Costa Rica and Peru.

How to increase and improve assistance among countries’ law enforcement officials?

I would be very happy if there would be a quick fix for that because that would solve our biggest problem – but, unfortunately, there is none! The experience in the WGB shows that not all of the countries are really devoted to fight foreign bribery when it comes to concrete investigations. Ratified conventions and loud promises cannot cope with the lack of – sometimes political – will to cooperate with each other. Therefore, we will offer some new technical tools to our member states to enhance their cooperation but we will also step up the pressure and publicly expose countries, where we will register a clear lack of cooperation. Combination of increased technical possibilities and the increased desire of countries to do it will have to bring some changes in the right direction.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author in his or her individual capacity, and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including the entities with which the author is affiliated, the author`s employers, other contributors, FCPAméricas, or its advertisers. The information in the FCPAméricas blog is intended for public discussion and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice to its readers and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It does not seek to describe or convey the quality of legal services. FCPAméricas encourages readers to seek qualified legal counsel regarding anti-corruption laws or any other legal issue. FCPAméricas gives permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author and to FCPAméricas LLC.

© 2015 FCPAméricas, LLC

Carlos Henrique da Silva Ayres

Post authored by Carlos Henrique da Silva Ayres, FCPAméricas Contributor

Categories: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Enforcement, English, FCPA, Mexico, OECD, Peru

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