2022 saw a number of international events focused on different aspects of anti-corruption, including:
- the regular summit of the G20 leaders who endorsed the High-Level Principles on Enhancing the Role of Auditing in Tackling Corruption and other documents;
- the 4th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Arab Anti-Corruption Convention that defined the monitoring mechanism of the Convention to promote joint action of the Arab States and adopted a resolution calling on the States parties to the Convention to adhere to the Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities;
- the 38th meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (IACAC) that adopted the reports of Panama, Chile and El Salvador on the IACAC implementation and explored the best practices in the fight against corruption of some countries of the region;
- the High-Level Conference on the Promotion of Good Governance and Fight Against Corruption in Africa that presented the strategy of the African Union and the framework of the International Monetary Fund on governance and corruption in African countries, the draft plan of action to promote governance in Africa and the draft strategy to disseminate the findings of the event.
Additionally, Interpol launched a specialised division to enhance the effectiveness of international cooperation in the fight against financial crimes, money laundering and corruption.
Research and corruption measurement
The last year saw the publication of a number of reports containing the general analysis of the effectiveness of the fight against corruption, including those centered on the rule of law in the EU countries, good governance in Southeast Europe, compliance with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and numerous analytical materials focused on narrower topics or specific anti-corruption instruments concerning, in particular:
- the courts against corruption;
- the specialised anti-corruption agencies;
- the fight against corruption addressing social norms;
- the employment of integrity pacts to counter corruption in procurement;
- the evaluation of effectiveness of anti-corruption measures.
A number of publications were centered on the acute issue of implementation of advanced technologies to counter corruption, such as the report entitled “New Technologies for Sustainable Development: Perspectives on Integrity, Trust and Anti-Corruption” by the UN Development Programme that assessed the opportunities and risks of the use of such digital technologies as artificial intelligence, machine and deep learning, blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies and big data analysis to counter corruption, and the report on corruption risks arising from the use of artificial intelligence by Transparency International.
Besides research, a number of anti-corruption rankings were released, including the Corruption Perceptions Index, the TRACE Matrix of corruption risks for business, the Capacity to Combat Corruption Index for the Latin American countries and the Western Hemisphere Anti-Corruption Index, and the Corruption Risk Forecast, a new corruption measurement tool, was launched.
A number of foreign countries adopted the measures to enhance the effectiveness of criminal and other types of liability for corruption. In particular, Portugal and Venezuela increased penalties for corruption crimes committed by public officials.
The trends in liability for transnational corruption should be particularly noted. In 2022 for instance, the United States, which the leader in the enforcement of the law in this area, started to include the obligation to verify the quality of compliance programmes of corporate perpetrators in the pre-trial agreements (the first agreement that contains these provisions is the one with Glencore that paid a record corporate fine to the UK government as well in 2022); the US also recognised that the allegations of corruption against a foreign citizen under the FCPA were illegal and published the opinion on whether a payment in exchange of the release from a forced detention of an individual suffering from health problems could be considered as a violation of the FCPA.
Some novelties regarded corporate liability for corruption. Colombia strengthened liability of legal persons for corruption offences; Brazil amended the regulations on civil and administrative liability of legal persons for their acts against domestic and foreign public bodies; Portugal established liability of legal persons and similar entities for providing or promising to provide undue material or immaterial advantage to officials, receiving undue advantage, trading in influence, embezzlement or irregular engagement in economic activities; the United States released the memorandum on corporate liability for corruption that regards liability of certain natural persons involved in improper corporate conduct, liability of legal persons, conduct of independent monitoring in the event that organisations are held liable, as well as transparency of priorities and procedures in corporate criminal law enforcement.
Some countries adopted measures to improve their systems of anti-corruption restrictions, prohibitions and obligations.
Peru, for example, introduced revolving door restrictions for the first time; South Africa prohibited all municipal employees from holding positions in political parties; Uzbekistan adopted a new law on civil service that, in particular, established anti-corruption standards for civil servants. Greece adopted a new Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Public Officials according to which these individuals should abide by the principles of integrity, while the UK released the Guidance on declaration and management of outside interests in the civil service.
A number of countries and international organisations took steps to regulate the fight against corporate corruption in 2022.
China introduced blacklisting of corporate bribe-givers and entitled the competent authorities to conduct external assessment of compliance programmes of organisations before pre-trial agreements are concluded. Argentina released the Guide on development and implementation of compliance programmes in organisations with state participation.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime launched a portal containing materials on how to promote integrity in the private sector with a view to incentivizing businesses to participate in the fight against corruption and comply with business ethics.
The need to implement Directive 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law forced many European countries, in particular, Portugal, France and Cyprus, to adopt or improve the laws on the protection of whistleblowers in 2022.
Some States established specialised anti-corruption agencies. Cyprus, in particular, created the Independent Authority against Corruption, Hungary established the Integrity Authority and the Anti-Corruption Working Group, while Australia launched the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
Other legal novelties
The anti-corruption measures adopted by foreign countries regarded also other areas, in particular:
- regulation of lobbying in Cyprus;
- detection and assessment of corruption risks in public bodies and organisations in Uzbekistan;
- establishment of electronic systems for gathering, storing and processing asset declarations in Venezuela;
- civil forfeiture of proceeds of crimes in Nigeria.
The Russian Federation
In 2022, the country adopted:
- legal acts aimed at regulating conflicts of interest in sport and procurement;
- an act providing for the possibilities to use the State information system for countering corruption “Poseidon” for assisting bodies and organisations in the prevention of corruption and other offences, including the verification of compliance with anti-corruption restrictions, prohibitions and obligations, analysis of information on income, expenses, property and property-related obligations (hereinafter, information on income, expenses), creation of statistical and information and analytical materials, support of activities of the commissions on compliance with the requirements for professional conduct and conflict-of-interest management etc.;
- amendments to laws expanding the scope of forfeiture of illicit assets: the savings on bank accounts of declarants, their spouses and minor children exceeding their income can now be forfeited on an equal footing with expensive property and other assets.
Additionally, Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of 29 December 2022 No. 968 “On the Characteristics of Compliance with the Anti-Corruption Obligations and Prohibitions by Certain Categories of Citizens throughout the Special Military Operation” was adopted at the end of the year.
As per this legal act, throughout the period of the special military operation (hereinafter, the operation):
1) The individuals who are participating (participated) in the operation or are (were) directly engaged in the achievement of the objectives related to its conduct, sent (posted) in the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Lugansk People’s Republic and Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions to perform tasks:
- are exempt from the obligation to submit information on income, expenses;
- are exempt from the obligation to send notifications, applications, requests and other materials on the matters related to the fulfillment of the obligations and compliance with the restrictions and prohibitions under anti-corruption legal acts if they participate in the operation or are directly engaged in the achievement of the objectives related to its conduct; and
- are exempt from the prohibition to receive rewards and gifts of humanitarian (charity) character due to their participation in the operation or direct engagement in the achievement of the objectives related to its conduct;
2) The individuals obliged to submit information on the income, expenses of the spouses are exempt from the obligation to provide this information if their spouses are participating (participated) in the operation or are (were) directly engaged in the achievement of the objectives related to its conduct, sent (posted) in the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Lugansk People’s Republic and Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions to perform tasks, called up for military service in the framework of the mobilization or provide voluntary assistance in the performance of the tasks entrusted to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation; and
3) The individuals called up for military service in the framework of the mobilization are exempt from the need to comply with the obligations, restrictions and prohibitions under Federal Law of 25 December 2008 No. 273-FZ “On Combating Corruption”.
Also, the need to publish the information on income, expenses of officials on the official websites of public bodies and organisations and to provide this information to the nation-wide Russian media is abolished for the duration of the operation.