Lithuania has made significant strides to strengthen its legislative framework to combat foreign bribery, but further efforts are needed to ensure effective enforcement of anti-bribery laws with regard to corporate liability and imposing sanctions for foreign bribery, according to a new report by the OECD Working Group on Bribery.

The 44-country OECD Working Group on Bribery recently completed its report on Lithuania's implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments. The Working Group made recommendations to improve Lithuania's fight against foreign bribery, including:

Train investigators and prosecutors on confiscation, and take steps to ensure that law enforcement authorities and prosecutors routinely seek confiscation in foreign bribery cases;

Ensure that Lithuania’s Special Investigations Service is adequately resourced to carry out foreign bribery investigations;

Strengthen frameworks to detect, investigate and prosecute foreign bribery-based money laundering; and

Improve efforts by relevant supervisory authorities and professional associations to raise awareness of the need to detect and report the foreign bribery offence.

The report noted a number of positive developments, such as the enactment of a comprehensive, standalone whistleblower protection legislation that will enter into force on 1 January 2019, and significant reforms to Lithuania’s anti-money laundering legislation, as well as its criminal sanctions framework, increasing the maximum available sanctions for natural and legal persons for foreign bribery.

The report further recognised the extensive awareness-raising efforts by Lithuania’s Special Investigations Service in the public and private sectors. Lithuania also has two ongoing criminal investigations for the foreign bribery offence. The Working Group said it will follow-up on the practice of prosecutors and judges in respectively seeking and imposing fines in foreign bribery cases to ensure that these are effective, proportionate, and dissuasive.

The Working Group on Bribery – made up of the 35 OECD member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Lithuania, Peru, Russia and South Africa – adopted Lithuania’s report in its second phase of monitoring implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The report lists all of the recommendations of the Working Group to Lithuania and includes an overview of recent enforcement actions and specific legal, policy and institutional features of Lithuania’s framework to fight foreign bribery.

Lithuania will provide an oral follow-up report to the Working Group on its implementation of certain recommendations by December 2018. It will further submit a written follow-up report by December 2019 on steps it has taken to implement all of the recommendations. This report will be publicly available.