The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Working Group on Bribery this week provided some chilling details about Iceland’s anti-bribery efforts of late—or lack thereof.
In a statement released April 9, the OECD Working Group on Bribery said it has “serious concerns” about Iceland’s lack of progress in both combating the bribery of foreign public officials and in implementing the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
In its Phase 3 Report issued in 2010, the Working Group made 17 recommendations to Iceland for improving its fight against foreign bribery. By 2012, just two of the recommendations had been fully implemented, the Working Group said.
Although Iceland created an Inter-Ministerial Steering Group to implement the recommendations, it has made “little effort” of doing so, the OECD said. “Iceland also continues to have no foreign bribery enforcement actions.”
The Working Group said it’s “especially disappointed” that Iceland has not implemented recommendations to effectively criminalize bribery of officials in foreign state-owned entities and to raise the maximum sanctions against natural persons for foreign bribery. “In addition, special investigative techniques continue to be unavailable in foreign bribery cases,” the Working Group stated.
The Working Group continued: “The obligation of officials to report foreign bribery has not been clarified. There is no legislation that specifically protects whistleblowers in the private sector. More efforts could also be made to raise awareness of foreign bribery.”
The Working Group said it’s “equally disappointed about Iceland’s failure to formally respond to correspondence from the Working Group Chair on two occasions.” Overall, it said, Iceland “seriously lacks” efforts to adequately implement the Convention.
Iceland is invited to report to the Working Group in writing by October on steps taken to implement its recommendations. Absent significant progress by that time, the Working Group said it will consider additional measures.