OECD welcomes Switzerland’s efforts in fighting the bribery of foreign public officials

Bern, 27.03.2018 - On 27 March, the OECD published a country monitoring report on Swiss efforts to combat corruption abroad, including recommendations for Switzerland. The OECD welcomes the fact that Switzerland has convicted six people and five companies for bribery of foreign public officials since 2012. It also applauds 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 calls for stricter penalties for companies as well as greater legal safeguards for whistleblowers in the private sector.

The OECD Working Group on Bribery regularly conducts reviews of signatory countries to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. These reviews serve the purpose of assessing the level of implementation and enforcement of the Convention. This is the fourth time that Switzerland has gone through such a review (referred to as phase-four country monitoring). 

Last September a team of OECD experts visited Switzerland and met with representatives of the Federal Administration, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), cantonal authorities as well as members of the business and scientific community, the media and civil society. The resulting country monitoring report focuses in particular on Swiss efforts to prosecute, punish and prevent the bribery of foreign public officials. It also highlights positive developments and areas in need of improvement.

The OECD appreciates the increase in the number of convictions of persons and companies involved in the bribery of foreign public officials, as well as Switzerland's proactive approach to the seizure and forfeiture of illegally acquired assets. It also praises Swiss cooperation with other countries within the framework of mutual legal assistance. The OECD applauds the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland (MROS) for its role in detecting corruption in connection with money laundering.

At the same time, the OECD suggests that more severe penalties be imposed on natural persons and in particular legal entities. Switzerland is also urged to introduce legal safeguards to protect whistleblowers in the private sector. In addition, the OECD recommends that the ongoing revision of the International Mutual Assistance Act be completed to make Swiss international cooperation even more efficient. Finally, penalty orders in relation to the bribery of foreign public officials should be published more widely and systematically.

In March 2020, Switzerland will submit a written report to the OECD on progress made towards implementation of these recommendations.

Switzerland was actively involved in the drafting of the 1997 OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Based on this Convention the bribery of foreign public officials has also been a criminal offence in Switzerland since 2000.


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