Corporate bribery big in France

Corporate bribery big in France

PARIS - Reuters
France lacks both the means and the will to properly tackle corporate bribery of foreign officials, an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) panel said yesterday, calling on Paris to tighten its laws and hike fines.

With only 33 bribery investigations and five convictions since a bribery ban came into force in 2000, France is failing to net enough offenders given French firms’ extensive interests abroad, the group monitoring an OECD anti-bribery pact said.

“The applied and available penalties, along with the lack of any recourse to measures to confiscate the proceeds of corruption do not appear to be effective, proportionate or dissuasive,” the group said in a report.

Increase fines

“France should increase the maximum fines and make full use of confiscation and additional penalties that are available under the law, in particular debarment from public procurement,” it added.

Thirty-nine countries including most of the industrialized world - but not China and India - have signed a 1997 convention to combat bribery in international business transactions. The convention was drawn up by the OECD and signatory nations are monitored by working groups made up of officials from member countries.