General Issues in the Sphere of Anti-Corruption
Over the past year, reports and methodological materials dedicated to general issues and trends in the application of law in the field of anti-corruption were published, including:
- A Handbook of Good Practices in the fight against corruption in EU countries, prepared by the European Commission (hereinafter referred to as the Commission);
- The Commission's annual Justice Scoreboard report, which for the first time included data on law enforcement in the field of anti-corruption;
- A report by the International Law Association on current challenges to the fight against corruption and possible ways to overcome them;
- Analytical publications by U4 on combating "grand corruption" and systemic corruption.
Some countries also released general strategic documents in the field of anti-corruption: in particular, in the United States, the Strategy on Countering Corruption Implementation Plan was adopted.
Authorities Responsible for Combating Corruption
In several countries, specialized anti-corruption bodies were established in 2023, including:
- The International Commission against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras;
- The Anti-Corruption Authority in Gibraltar;
- The Anti-Corruption Bureau in Georgia;
- The Office of the Special Prosecutor in Saint Kitts and Nevis, empowered to investigate corruption-related crimes and prosecute offenders, as well as to collect, store, and process information received from whistleblowers.
Additionally, various reports and methodological materials were released for those responsible for combating corruption, including:
- OECD guidelines for law enforcers on combating corruption in emergency situations;
- G20 report on the role of audit institutions in fighting corruption;
- UNODC report on countering corruption in the transfer of athletes;
- Analytical reports by U4 on assessing corruption risks in the public sector and on using due diligence in allocating state funds to non-profit organizations.
This year, several countries have taken steps to improve their systems of restrictions, prohibitions, and obligations established to combat corruption.
In Kazakhstan, amendments were made concerning the restrictions on the employment of relatives in the same quasi-public sector entities.
In Uzbekistan, measures were introduced to refine the mechanism for regulating the acceptance of gifts by officials.
In Monaco, anti-corruption standards for government members were established.
Paraguay enacted a legal norm setting out standards concerning conflict of interest.
Belarus updated a range of anti-corruption provisions, including those related to assets declaration, gift acceptance, and the employment of relatives together.
Changes in the legislation concerning asset declaration were also made in:
- Greece, where a new procedure for disclosing assets and interest was defines;
- Sri Lanka, where all public officials are now required to submit asset declarations.
In the meantime, the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) presented a technical guide on choosing an effective form of asset and interest disclosure.
Measures of Responsibility for Corruption Offences
In several countries, measures have been implemented to enhance the effectiveness of prosecuting corruption.
Simultaneously, several countries amended or adopted norms related to asset confiscation, including those obtained through corruption crimes.
In Belarus, the grounds for seizing (recovering) illegally obtained property and/or the value of illegally obtained work or services were changed.
In Venezuela, a procedure was established for the forfeiture of the proceeds of illegal activities.
In Kazakhstan, a separate law on asset confiscation was adopted.
Additionally, StAR published a guide on the confiscation of unexplained wealth in civil proceedings.
Combating Corruption in the Business Sector
In 2023, both researchers and legislators remained focused on combating corruption in the business sector. Notable analytical and methodological materials released included:
- Revised OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct;
- Prepared by the French Anti-Corruption Agency review of anti-corruption standards in the business sector of certain countries and international organizations and guide for conducting internal anti-corruption investigations in organizations;
- The Wolfsberg Group’s guidance on combating corruption in financial organizations.
Legislative changes addressing corruption in the private sector were also made in several countries.
In the US, the corporate law enforcement policy was revised, allowing for the possibility of waiving criminal prosecution even in the presence of aggravating circumstances and increasing 'discounts' when imposing fines, as well as an updated version of the Policy on Evaluating of Corporate Compliance Programs was published.
In the United Kingdom, the procedure for combating fraud and corruption in private sector organizations was amended.
In Brazil, under the leadership of the Comptroller General of the Union, the National Network for Promoting Private Integrity was launched.
Regarding the enforcement of anti-corruption laws in the private sector, the primary focus remained on combating the bribery of foreign public officials.
In the USA, Ericsson was held accountable for failing to comply with the terms of a previously concluded DPA, and the Rafoi case continued, signaling to all natural and legal persons who can potentially be subject to the FCPA enforcement and consider any interaction with public authorities, including non-American and not involving indictment in the beginning, as “official” and requiring thorough preparations and lawyer’s advice.
And in Canada, the first pre-trial agreement in a foreign bribery case was concluded.
Disclosing Corruption and Protection of Whistleblowers
Issues of disclosing corruption and protecting whistleblowers has become a prominent theme of the past year.
By the end of 2023, all EU member states had implemented the provisions of the European Parliament and Council Directive 2019/1937/EU of 26 November 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law.
In some countries, special bodies responsible for receiving information about corruption violations and protecting individuals who disclose such information were established, including:
- The Commission to Investigate Allegations on Bribery and Corruption in Sri Lanka;
- The Independent Authority for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Spain.
Countering Corruption in Public Procurement
This year, a series of legislative amendments in foreign countries also addressed issues of combating corruption in public procurement.
Anti-Corruption Education and Awareness-Raising
In the past year, the International Anti-Corruption Academy introduced courses developed with the participation of experts from the Anti-Corruption Center of the Higher School of Economics University (hereinafter referred to as the HSE), including:
- On corporate liability for corruption;
- On how to build a whistleblowing system to counter corruption.
The Global Infrastructure Anti-Corruption Center published a free course on preventing corruption in infrastructure projects for use in higher education institutions.
Additionally, several analytical papers on anti-corruption education were released, including:
- On the risks of the incorrect approach to anti-corruption awareness-raising;
- On influencing citizens' behavior through anti-corruption awareness-raising;
- On the impact of social norms on corrupt behavior.
Furthermore, the African Union announced the creation of the African Anti-Corruption Research Network (AACRN).
Regarding the ever-relevant topic of measuring corruption, this past year the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) prepared the draft Statistical Framework to Measure Corruption, and the OECD introduced the Public Sector Integrity Indicators.
Additionally, as is customary, a number of anti-corruption rankings were published, including:
- The Corruption Perceptions Index,
- The Capacity to Combat Corruption Index for Latin American countries,
- The Rule of Law Index,
- The Global Corruption Index,
- The TRACE Matrix Index of corruption risks for the business sector,
- Results of the Eurobarometer survey of citizens and business representatives in Europe on their attitudes towards corruption.
In 2023, a series of international events dedicated to various aspects of combating corruption were held, including:
- The regular G20 summit, where, among other things, the high-level principles on enhancing the effectiveness of anti-corruption bodies, on increased international anti-corruption cooperation, and on asset recovery were adopted;
- The first anti-corruption ministerial meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states, where the Makkah Al-Mukarramah Convention on Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Cooperation was adopted;
- The fifth Forum of the International Corruption Hunters Alliance.
Additionally, at the end of the year, the tenth Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption took place. The conference resulted in the adoption of the Atlantic Declaration, which promotes various forms of accountability in the fight against corruption, and a number of resolutions on specific areas, including issues raised for the first time at this event:
- Combating corruption in public procurement;
- Protection of whistleblowers;
- The connection between corruption and organized crime;
- Addressing gender inequality as a means to combat corruption.
Combatting Corruption in the Russian Federation
This year in our country, the following legal acts were adopted:
- Establishing an obligation for individuals holding state positions in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation to report all cases of incitement to corruption;
- Modifying the requirements for the submission and publication of income declarations for deputies of federal, regional, and municipal levels;
- Providing the exemption of officials from liability for failure to comply with anti-corruption standards due to the reasons beyond their control.
Anti-Corruption Portal and Anti-Corruption Center
Over the past year on our Portal:
- A database of movies and series dedicated to the theme of corruption was introduced;
- New infographics providing information on anti-corruption and other related legal provisions of different jurisdictions important for the business-sector organizations were published;
- Profiles of several South American countries were added;
- The "Publications" section was updated, containing information on research publications on various aspects of anti-corruption efforts;
- The "Web Sites" section was supplemented, which includes links to external resources that we find interesting and useful.
Furthermore, this year the HSE Anti-Corruption Center: