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OECD rebukes Israel for failing to combat foreign bribery

June 25, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Israel has not been “sufficiently proactive” in detecting and investigating incidents of foreign bribery, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in a report issued Wednesday.

According to the OECD’s working group on bribery, Israel has failed to prosecute a single case of foreign bribery since 2008 – when Israel’s anti-foreign bribery law came into effect – despite 14 separate allegations of foreign bribery involving Israeli individuals and companies.

The working group issued a raft of recommendations, calling on Israel to “thoroughly investigate foreign bribery allegations, including [those] in respect of corporations where appropriate” and to “increase foreign bribery training and guidance for law enforcement authorities.”

It also encouraged Israel to proceed with proposed legislative amendments aimed at consolidating its legal liability framework and removing existing limitations to the country’s jurisdiction over extraterritorial foreign bribery offences.

The working group also recommended that Israel take steps to “enhance detection capacities by encouraging whistle-blowing and improve training and awareness of actors involved in the detection of foreign bribery.”

It further urged the self-proclaimed Jewish state to work on raising awareness of the issue, “particularly amongst companies operating in high-risk industries.”

While voicing its concern over the current state of affairs, the OECD working group also hailed recent efforts by the Israeli authorities to pursue the issue more vigorously, vowing to “pay close attention” to how these efforts developed in the months ahead.

These efforts include the recent establishment of an inter-ministerial team devoted to combating foreign bribery, which the working group described as an “encouraging step” that could contribute to increased enforcement.

Israel, the working group added, had also been successful in independently detecting a number of allegations from a variety of sources, which, it asserted, could lead to more foreign bribery cases coming to light.

The OECD’s working group on bribery includes the organisations’ 34 member states, plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Latvia, Russia and South Africa.

Israel joined the OECD’s anti-bribery convention in 2009.