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OECD working group raps Finland over slow progress on fighting bribery

A working group at the OECD has reprimanded Finland for failing to implement anti-bribery measures. The working group expressed ‘serious concern’ about Finland’s failings and difficulties in enforcing existing laws against bribing foreign officials.

Kaksi 50 euron seteliä kirjekuoressa.
An OECD working group is concerned about Finland's efforts to combat corruption. Image: Timo Jaakonaho / Lehtikuva

Finland is not doing enough to stop businesspeople bribing foreign officials, according to a working group established by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The working group said in a statement on Wednesday that Finland has enacted only six of 19 recommendations on combating bribery given by the working group in 2010, and has trouble enforcing existing provisions against corruption. The working group helps police enforcement of the OECD's Anti-Bribery Convention.

"Finland has not introduced genuine whistle-blower protections for those who—in good faith and on reasonable grounds—report suspected instances of foreign bribery," said the group in its statement. "Moreover, companies are still not liable for false accounting offences, although Finland has recently informed the Working Group that a bill to correct this shortcoming is scheduled to be submitted to Parliament in the first half of 2016."

Poor enforcement record

The group also said it was concerned about what it called Finland’s ‘poor enforcement record’.

"Defendants have been acquitted of foreign bribery charges in all four of the cases that have been finally concluded in Finland—even though foreign public officials have been convicted in their home country for a bribery scheme connected with a Finnish company."

In 2014 Patria executives were acquitted of bribery in the Finnish courts, even though Slovenian courts had convicted officials including the then-Prime Minister Janez Jansa, of corruption related to the deal.

The working group has now asked the Finnish government to submit a report outlining how it will implement the OECD’s recommendations. If that report is not submitted, the working group could consider what it refers to as ‘further measures’.

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