Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general of the DoJ Criminal Division, yesterday called for Russia to pass an anti-bribery law similar to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
If successful, this legislation will enhance the country’s overall battle against corruption.
Speaking at the Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States third anti-corruption summit, Breuer recognised the department’s enforcement of the FCPA that led to a series of crackdowns and successful criminal prosecutions for those involved in bribery of foreign officials.
‘In the US, we have seen aggressive FCPA enforcement lead to changes in corporate behaviour, bringing the problem of foreign bribery into the foreground for many corporations,’ says Breuer. ‘The enactment of significant anti-bribery legislation —accompanied by the promise of subsequent enforcement — could have the same effect here.’
Russia, known for its laundry list of unethical business practices, has recently been attempting to tighten up the securities sector. According to Breuer, on Transparency International’s (TI’s) 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, Russia ranks 154th out of 178 countries. Also, the country took the 22nd spot out of 22 countries on TI’s 2008 Bribe Payers Index, which periodically ranks top exporting countries on the basis of how likely their firms are to pay bribes abroad.
However, Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev in February proposed an anti-bribery act that will attempt to increase penalties for bribery and criminalise those who engage in foreign fraudulent activities.
Coincidentally, this legislation serves as a requirement for joining the organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) anti-bribery treaty.
The Paris-based organisation is set to review Russia’s application to join it this week.
‘These efforts would likely encourage foreign investment in Russia, showing the rest of the world that Russia is serious about strengthening its rule of law,’ assures Breuer.