HSE University Anti-Corruption Portal
G20 Summit: Summary of Anti-Corruption Outcomes

On 30 and 31 October Rome (Italy) saw a regular G20 summit that defined, among other things, the priority areas of anti-corruption work from 2022 to 2024 and adopted a number of guiding principles concerning the fight against corruption in specific spheres.

The summit concluded with the adoption of a leaders’ declaration where the G20 countries reiterated their commitment to zero-tolerance for corruption in the public and private sectors, committed to strengthening their engagement with relevant stakeholders such as academia, civil society and media, denying safe haven to corruption offenders and their assets and countering transnational organised crime, as well as promoting beneficial ownership and real estate transparency to prevent the concealment and laundering of proceeds of corruption.

A number of documents prepared in advance by the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) were also adopted at the summit: 

1. Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2022-2024

For the next three years, the main lines of anti-corruption action will be the following:

1. Strengthen the implementation of existing anti-corruption G20 commitments, including their systematisation, modification of the thematic approach towards the preparation of the annual accountability report, improvement of the methods of work of the ACWG, for example, a possibility to hold a second G20 anti-corruption ministerial meeting

2. Support other international anti-corruption initiatives, in particular, in the framework of the UnitedNations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the activities of the Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions and INTERPOL;

3. Further improve anti-corruption mechanisms in the following three key areas:

1) public sector transparency, integrity and accountability, including in public procurement and management of public finances: 

  • exchange good practices to explore the possibilities offered by emerging technologies for enhancing the quality and accessibility of open government data;
  • foster greater openness and fair competition in public procurement, including bypromoting risk-based approaches to identify procurers, encourage international efforts on procurement transparency and beneficial ownership, promote the role of audit institutions and their collaboration with anti-corruption bodies;
  • promote the development of integrity principles in public bodies, taking into consideration their institutional characteristics, risks and responsibilities;
  • explore ways to raise awareness of corruption particularly among youth;

2) Private sector transparency, integrity and accountability, anti-money-laundering and beneficial ownership transparency: 

  • explore measures to strengthen transparency in the real estate sector;
  • promote the requirements concerning maintenance of books and records and adoption of compliance programmes;
  • address the use of shell companies for corruption;
  • explore measures to monitor the use of virtual assets to launder proceeds of corruption;
  • promote regulatory and supervisory regimes for banks and non-bank financial institutions to prevent their use in corrupt practices;
  • conduct a stocktake of existing regulatory and supervisory standards for gatekeeping industries or professional enablers of corruption;
  • share good practices on beneficial ownership transparency.

3) International cooperation, denial of safe haven and asset recovery:

  • exchange experience to better enable countries to engage in both informal and formal international cooperation and explore ways to increase digitalization and interoperability in these processes;
  • promote efforts to strengthen oversight of investor citizenship programmes prevent them from being abused by corrupt actors seeking safe haven for themselves and/or the proceeds of their crime;
  • strengthen the availability of asset recovery information;
  • explore examples of the role that civil society, the private sector and the media have played in international anti-corruption cooperation, including asset recovery;
  • share good practices on the effective tracing, seizure, confiscation, return and disposal of confiscated proceeds of crime, including on measures that promote transparency and accountability in the return process;
  • explore the modalities used by corrupt actors to seek and achieve safe haven for the proceeds of crime in major asset recovery cases, and exchange good practices to deny safe haven;
  • share experiences and promote a variety of measures, such as procedurally fair non-trial resolution to corruption cases and non-conviction-based or civil asset recovery;

4. Cross-cutting issues where the G20 ACWG can best add value, including:

  • corruption in sport;
  • corruption in customs;
  • corruption and illegal wildlife trade;
  • corruption measurement;
  • gender and corruption, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women;
  • prevention of the misuse of trade and investment flows to conceal corruption and transfer the proceeds of corruption also by promoting cooperation with the private sector.
  • G20 High-Level Principles on Corruption related to Organized Crime

The document contains seven basic principles aimed at preventing and countering corruption related to the activities of organised criminal groups and networks and a set of actions to be taken to implement them. These principles include:

1. Deepen the understanding of the interlinkages between corruption and organized crime in a transnational, regional and country-specific context;

2. Reinforce preventive measures to address corruption linked to organized crime through efforts aimed at strengthening the integrity of the public sector and public procurement processes, the reinforcement of technical capacities as well as enhancing data transparency;

3. Strengthen domestic legal frameworks to ensure that corruption and organized crime offences are subject to sanctions appropriate to their gravity;

4. Support law enforcement and criminal justice authorities to tackle corruption related to organized crime by enhancing mechanisms for detection, investigation and prosecution;

5. Enhance measures to prevent corrupt actors and organized criminal groups from enjoying the proceeds of their crimes by hiding, laundering and reinvesting them in legal or illegal business activities;

6. Provide for effective and adequate protection and reporting mechanisms for whistle-blowers, witnesses and victims of corruption related to organized crime, their relatives and other persons close to them;

7. Encourage international cooperation to counter corruption related to organized crime.

2. G20 High-Level Principles on Tackling Corruption in Sport

The paper defines the key principles of action in one of the most acute areas of the recent years – the fight against corruption in professional and amateur sport, whose importance is underscored by resolutions of the Conference of the States Parties to the UNCAC (resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport adopted in the seventh session in Vienna in 2017 and resolution 8/4 on safeguarding sport from corruption adopted in the eighth session in Abu Dhabi in 2019) and the initiation of a UNODC global report on safeguarding sport from corruption. The principles include: 

1. Gather and analyse information to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based understanding of the nature, scale, scope and risks of corruption in sport and raise awareness of this phenomenon;

2. Strengthen legal and regulatory frameworks to address corruption in sport;

3. Ensure effective law enforcement against corruption in sport, also by developing specific competencies and expertise of competent officers and developing and implementing detection and reporting mechanisms;

4. Strengthen international cooperation among law enforcement, criminal justice and corruption prevention authorities, as well as lawmakers and policymakers;

5. Tackle the exploitation of sport by criminal groups that use it for money-laundering and other illicit gains and other illegal acts related to corruption;

6. Support international and national sports organizations to enhance governance, transparency and accountability and ensure the integrity of major sports events, including associated procurement.

3. G20 High-Level Principles on Preventing and Combating Corruption in Emergencies

The document contains anti-corruption principles applicable to various crises and emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent recovery, which can lead to increased risks of corruption, misappropriation, fraud, money laundering and other related crimes. Under the principles the G20 countries should:

1. Enhance legislation, administrative and financial rules and regulations in preparation for crisis and ensure their maintenance during emergencies;

2. Ensure transparency, integrity and accountability of the public sector;

3. Ensure transparency, integrity, and efficiency of public procurement processes and aid disbursement;

4. Ensure that competent anti-corruption authorities have the proper human, technological and financial resources to allow for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of corruption and other related illegal activities and the confiscation of associated proceeds of crime in times of crises and emergencies;

5. Implement international anti-corruption obligations and strengthen international cooperation to ensure that transnational cases can be effectively investigated and prosecuted and that the proceeds of crime are confiscated;

6. Ensure transparency and integrity of the private sector;

7. Support the role played by civil society, academia and media in ensuring transparency and accountability and in detecting and reporting corruption related to or impacting government responsesto crises and emergencies.

4. 2021 Anti-Corruption Accountability Report 

The regular ACWG report is centered on such topics as 1) beneficial ownership transparency; 2) private sector transparency and integrity; and 3) liability of legal persons for corruption. The paper assesses the collective progress, achieved by the G20 countries in line with their commitments in the relevant areas. 

The ACWG stresses that over the past year many countries have updated their legislation regulating beneficial ownership transparency (for instance, anti-money laundering legislation, anti-corruption legislation, financial and tax legislation) or have informed that relevant amendments are being developed. In particular, China has announced a bill that provides for the establishment of a national centralized registry of beneficial ownership information and an obligation for legal entities to report beneficial ownership information; the Corporate Transparency Act, enacted in the United States, requires organisations to report certain information about their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN); Mexico, the Russian Federation and South Africa have initiated legislative procedures and inter-institutional working groups to review key issues in order to fully comply with the FATF Recommendations on beneficial ownership transparency; to address challenges posed by different databases, registries and registers, Australia and South Africa have each opted to set up a Service/Committee (central or multi-agency) to bring together in one place several registers managed by different authorities, and/or to coordinate different stakeholders in the beneficial ownership transparency area; Spain has created a single Register of Beneficial Ownership of legal entities and trusts, while Germany and Italy have announced the opening of the access to the beneficial ownership registers to the general public.

Regarding anti-corruption measures in the private sector, the report highlights such novelties as, for instance, the creation of an Integrity and Transparency Registry for Entities; the launch of the Bribery Prevention Network, a public-private partnership that brings together the private sector, government, civil society and academia to support businesses to prevent, detect and address bribery and corruption, and strengthening of the corporate sector whistleblower protections in Australia; the publication of a joint guidance by the Federal Ministry of Justice and for Consumer Protection and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on corruption prevention in companies, in particular when operating abroad, in Germany; development of a set of methodological materials aimed at preventing corruption in the procurement of goods, works and services by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation; the launch on a pilot basis of the Ethics and Compliance Management Certification System for state-owned companies and private companies in Korea etc.

Concerning liability of legal persons for corruption, the ACWG report cites the examples of such initiatives as the introduction of a new bill on corporate liability in Germany; the drafting of a bill introducing a new corporate offence for failure to prevent foreign bribery in Australia and others. The ACWG also stresses an increasing role for deferred prosecution agreements that are used in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Brazil and are being contemplated in Australia. 

5. Compendium of Good Practices on Measurement of Corruption

The paper was prepared by the ACWG to explore the existing approaches to corruption measurement in the G20 countries. This is a topic whose acute nature was recognised at the level of international organisations in 2019 when the Conference of the States Parties to the UNCAC adopted resolution 8/10 on measuring corruption. The compendium is based on the information provided by the G20 countries to a questionnaire circulated to the ACWG last February.

Corruption measurement is an uneasy task, particularly as regards the choice of methodology. A lot of research publications are devoted to its study. In spite of the fact that there is a number of international rankings assessing the level of corruption in different countries, experts have pointed to their shortcomings (for example, here), and many countries have expressed their dissatisfaction with the assessment tools applied.

Traditionally, in order to measure corruption, either administrative data (prosecution statistics and information about potential corruption risks, including information on public procurement, beneficial ownership, administrative penalties, information extracted from asset declarations, findings of corporate internal and external audit procedures) or opinion surveys of citizens, entities, experts and, less frequently, civil servants are used. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses: the ACWG experts explore the opportunities and constraints that each approach presents and analyse good practices of G20 countries in measuring corruption.

At the same time, over the recent years ever more attempts have been made to go beyond these two types of measurement tools and examine different indirect indicators that can be used to assess the level of corruption in a country. Consequently, the ACWG provides information about the G20 countries’ approaches to the collection of additional data, dividing them in 12 areas:

  1. public procurements, 
  2. reports/data on public administration transparency, 
  3. proceedings by courts of auditors, 
  4. standard costs for goods and services, 
  5. disciplinary sanctions for illicit/abusive conducts by civil servants, 
  6. asset declarations, 
  7. gifts and benefits registers, 
  8. related parties/conflicts of interest registers, 
  9. political donations, 
  10. beneficial ownership of companies, 
  11. denial of entry, 
  12. financial intelligence exchanges.
  13. Progress Report on the Implementation and Enforcement of G20 Commitments on Foreign Bribery

The paper provides a brief overview of the implementation of the measures to counter transnational corruption in 19 countries (17 G20 member States, one permanent guest and one guest country).

The ACWG stresses that in spite of the fact that countries report robust legislative and institutional frameworks for foreign bribery, gaps remain. In particular, not all countries have criminalised bribery of foreign public officials, whereas several countries still need to strengthen their offence regime. Furthermore, the ACWG believes that law enforcement against transnational bribery remains insufficient. 

Corruption whistleblowers
Corruption measurement
Corruption in sport
Illicit enrichment
Education and enlightenment
Asset recovery
Corruption in public procurement
Civil society
International cooperation
Foreign bribery
Criminal prosecution

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