1. Prerequisites for the fight against bribery in international business transactions
National anti-corruption policy priorities
Compromising foreign public officials in order to gain international trade benefits raises serious moral, political, social, environmental and economic threats, hinders sustainable economic development and distorts competition. This fact is also acknowledged by the Government of the Slovak Republic, which, in its 2016-2020 Program Statement, committed to continue coordinating, conceiving solutions and implementing preventive measures to reduce the level of corruption, strengthen the rule of law and increase transparency throughout society. In this context, it also declares "strengthening the national anti-corruption policy with a priority focus on the prevention of corruption of foreign public officials in international business transactions".
International Anti-Corruption Initiatives
The gravity of both individual and social consequences of corruption makes the issue of combating this crime significant at both the national and international level. International organisations and institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, and the European Commission step up efforts to adopt effective tools for coordinated action to eliminate this crime and its negative impacts on economic and social relations. International conventions play an important role in this context, to support implementation of the key policies and strategic recommendations of international organisations in the fight against corruption offenses.
OECD's International Anti-Corruption Policy
An important tool for the elimination of corruption, especially in the international business environment, is the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (hereinafter referred to as the "OECD Convention"). The OECD Convention was adopted by the OECD member countries, together with Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile and the Slovak Republic on 21 November 1997, signed in Paris on 17 December 1997. It entered into force on 23 November 1999 in the Slovak Republic and it was published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic under No. 318/1999 Coll.
The OECD Convention is the first legally binding international instrument to fight corruption in order to protect fair competition in international trade relations. By ratifying the OECD Convention, the Parties committed to investigate and prosecute corruption offenses committed by foreign public officials in international business transactions. The OECD Convention is aimed at physical and legal persons that offer, promise a bribe or bribe in international business transactions. This particular focus has enabled the OECD to become a global authority in the fight against corruption in international trade.
How is the implementation of the OECD Convention ensured?
The OECD Convention requires the countries party to the OECD Convention to establish the legal prerequisites at the national level to prosecute natural and legal persons intentionally offering, promising or giving any undue pecuniary or other advantage, whether directly or through intermediaries, to a foreign public official, for that official or for a third party, in order that the official act or refrain from acting in relation to the performance of official duties, in order to obtain or retain business or other improper advantage in the conduct of international business..
Criminal offenses under the OECD Convention include attempts to bribe or prepare for the bribery of a foreign public official. The OECD Convention also requires State Parties to take the necessary legislative measures to establish that incitement, aiding and abetting, or authorization of an act of bribery of a foreign public official is a criminal offense.
What is the meaning of the OECD Convention?
The main purpose of the OECD Convention is to support the State Parties in defining a legislative framework to investigate and prosecute bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions. 44 countries ratified the OECD Convention on 29 October 2019, including 36 OECD member countries and 8 non-member countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Russia, South Africa, and Costa Rica.
By adhering to the OECD Convention, the Slovak Republic committed to introduce bribery offenses committed by natural persons or legal entities into its legal system and to ensure effective policies for the prevention, detection, investigation and sanctioning of these crimes.
The OECD Convention and related documents are available on the OECD's website
The OECD is a global authority in the fight against corruption in international business transactions.
- The prevention and fight against corruption in international business transactions is regulated by the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
- By ratifying the OECD Convention, the countries party to the Convention commit to detect, investigate and prosecute corruption offenses committed by foreign public officials in international business transactions.
- The OECD Convention requires the countries party to the Convention to establish the legal prerequisites at the national level for the prosecution of natural and legal persons for offenses of bribery of a foreign public official in international business transactions.
- Criminal offenses under the OECD Convention include attempts to bribe and prepare for bribery, assisting, instigating, aiding and guiding or approving bribery of a foreign public official.