Instruments and initiatives

International Instruments

Switzerland supports various international instruments aimed at fighting corruption and is actively involved in the further development of these measures.

The OECD Convention on the fight against the bribery of foreign public officers in international business transactions

The 38 industrialized nations of the OECD and eight further states (Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Peru, Romania, Russia and South Africa) have signed the OECD Convention on combating bribery of foreign officials in international business transactions (hereafter “OECD Convention”). On this basis they have amended their legislation and made the bribery of foreign public officials a punishable offence. A far-reaching monitoring procedure has been set up to ensure that the OECD Convention is implemented in all State Parties. SECO has the lead in representing Switzerland in the relevant OECD committee (see below). 2024 marks the 25th anniversary of the OECD Convention.

Evaluations of Switzerland by the OECD

The OECD Working Group on Bribery regularly conducts reviews of State Parties to the OECD Convention. These reviews serve the purpose of assessing the level of implementation of the Convention. In 2018, Switzerland for the fourth time went through such a review (referred to as phase 4 evaluation). In 2018 and 2020 the OECD addressed recommendations to Switzerland with a view to combatting foreign bribery. The OECD praised Switzerland's dynamism in procecuting and convicting individuals and companies for bribery of foreign public officials. It also commended the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland (MROS) for its role in detecting cases of corruption abroad in connection with money laundering. At the same time, the OECD called for stricter penalties for companies as well as greater legal safeguards for whistleblowers in the private sector.     

The Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption

In 1999, the Criminal Law Convention on the fight against corruption was passed under the auspices of the Council of Europe . This convention goes beyond the OECD Convention as regards content in that it contains the general minimum requirements for criminal law provisions to fight corruption both private and public. Switzerland acceded to the Criminal Law Convention and became a member of the Group of States against Corruption in 2006.(GRECO)

The United Nations Convention against Corruption

The UN Convention against corruption was signed by more than 140 countries including Switzerland in December 2003 and came into force in 2005. The UN Convention differs from the conventions of the OECD and the Council of Europe due to its universal nature and the inclusion of provisions with respect to the restitution of funds acquired through illegal and corrupt practices. The UN Convention has been ratified by Switzerland in September 2009.

Further Initiatives

Alongside the efforts to fight corruption driven by the community of states, various private organisations and initiative groups are following the same goal, in particular:

Specialist staff
Last modification 26.02.2024

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