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OECD Convention

OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions

The OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions was signed in December 1997 and came into force in February 1999.  Ireland ratified the Convention in September 2003.  The Convention is aimed at reducing corruption in developing countries by encouraging sanctions against bribery in international business transactions carried out by companies based in the convention member countries.

2009 Recommendation of the Council for Further Combating Bribery was adopted by the OECD in order to enhance the ability of the States Parties to the Convention to prevent, detect and investigate allegations of foreign bribery. The 2009 Recommendation of the Council for Further Combating Bribery was released on 9 December 2009, when the OECD marked the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The Recommendation was adopted by the OECD in order to enhance the ability of the States Parties to the Convention to prevent, detect and investigate allegations of foreign bribery.

2009 Recommendation on the Tax Deductibility of Bribes to Foreign Public Officials further strengthens the role of tax authorities in combating bribery by requiring explicit legislation to prohibit the tax deductibility of bribes and promoting enhanced cooperation between tax authorities and law enforcement agencies to counter corruption. The 2009 Recommendation on the Tax Deductibility of Bribes to Foreign Public Officials further strengthens the role of tax authorities in combating bribery by requiring explicit legislation to prohibit the tax deductibility of bribes and promoting enhanced cooperation between tax authorities and law enforcement agencies to counter corruption."

All signatories to the Convention were required to introduce legislation that criminalises the act of bribing a foreign public official.  In this regard, the law on corruption in Ireland was strengthened following the enactment of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2001, which gave effect in domestic law to the OECD Convention  and two other Conventions concerning corruption in criminal law, and corruption involving officials of the European Communities and officials of the EU member states.

This legislation has ensured that there are strong penalties in place, of up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine, for those found guilty of offences under the Act, including convictions of bribery of foreign public officials by Irish nationals and companies.  Under section 23 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2005, the Criminal Assets Bureau has power to seize a suspected bribe, and that Act also contains provisions relating to forfeiture of the bribe.

In addition, the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2010 was enacted to give fuller effect to certain provisions of the OECD Anti-bribery Convention. This legislation incorporates recommendations arising from the OECD reviews of Ireland's implementation of the Convention. It also strengthens the previous legislation on bribery in relation to foreign public officials and gives fuller effect to certain provisions of the Convention such as protection for whistleblowers.