Korea making notable progress on fighting foreign bribery; further improvements needed, says OECD

October 20th, 2011

Korea has improved its information and intelligence gathering capacity in foreign bribery cases, but should be more proactive in investigating allegations, according to a new OECD report.

Korea has successfully prosecuted nine foreign bribery cases since 2002; most of them involved the bribery of foreign military staff on Korean soil. Korea is currently prosecuting a new case and working on three new allegations – all of which took place abroad.

The OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed its report on Korea’s application of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments.

The Working Group also recommends that Korea:

  • Preserve transnational bribery case records for a reasonable period to allow for full reporting on those cases to the Working Group;
  • Ensure that sanctions imposed on individuals and companies for foreign bribery are effective, proportionate and dissuasive, and that the bribe and the proceeds of foreign bribery are confiscated where possible;
  • Facilitate reporting by tax authorities of suspicions of foreign bribery uncovered during tax audits; and
  • Enhance the prevention and detection of foreign bribery by encouraging all Korean companies, including SMEs, to adopt adequate internal controls, ethics and compliance programmes.

Korea’s public procurement and official export credit agencies can now debar companies convicted of bribing foreign public officials, the report said. A new whistleblower law that protects both public and private sector employees who report foreign bribery should also increase detection.

The Working Group on Bribery – composed of the 34 OECD Member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Russia and South Africa – adopted Korea’s report in its third phase of monitoring implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

The Report, available at, lists all the recommendations of the Working Group to Korea on page 36, and includes an overview of recent enforcement actions and specific legal, policy and institutional features of Korea’s anti-foreign bribery framework. As with other Working Group members, Korea will submit an oral report to the Working Group on its implementation of certain recommendations within one year, and a written report within two years on steps it has taken to implement all recommendations. This report will also be made publicly available.

For further information, journalists are invited to contact Mary Crane-Charef, OECD Anti-Corruption Division Communications Officer, tel.: (33) 1 45 24 97 04.

For more information on OECD’s work to fight corruption, please

Written by EJ Fagan

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