Sweden's enforcement of foreign bribery laws far too weak



21/06/2012 - More than twelve years after making foreign bribery a crime, Sweden needs to make much greater efforts  to actively enforce its anti-bribery legislation, according to a new OECD report. Despite a number of allegations against Swedish companies, Sweden has prosecuted only one case in 2004 and has never proceeded against a company for foreign bribery. Furthermore, the OECD Working Group on Bribery cites a need for greater support and awareness in the Swedish public for foreign bribery enforcement.

The OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed its report on Sweden’s application of the Convention of Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments. The report recommends a follow-up evaluation, including a written report in 6 months and another in one year.

Other main recommendations of the Group are that Sweden should:

  • Greatly increase efforts to investigate potential links between Swedish companies and allegations of bribery perpetrated abroad by intermediaries, such as foreign subsidiaries;
  • Ensure that law enforcement authorities have adequate resources and specialised training to enforce foreign bribery laws; and
  • Amend the system of corporate fines to ensure that companies are held responsible for foreign bribery, including raising the maximum fines for Swedish companies who bribe.

The report also highlights positive aspects of Sweden’s efforts to fight foreign bribery. Sweden has recently taken steps to strengthen its anti-bribery legislative framework and created the Anti-Corruption Police Unit. Sweden’s Tax Administration is making important efforts to detect and report foreign bribery. Sweden has also assisted other countries with their foreign bribery investigations.

The Working Group on Bribery – made up of the 34 OECD Member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Russia and South Africa – adopted report on Sweden in its third phase of monitoring implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

The Report, available at, lists all the recommendations of the Working Group to Sweden on pages 44-47, and includes an overview of recent enforcement actions and specific legal, policy and institutional features of Sweden’s framework for fighting foreign bribery. As with other Working Group members, Sweden will submit a written report to the Working Group within two years on steps it has taken to implement the new recommendations. This report will also be made publicly available.

For further information, journalists are invited to contact Stephanie Wells, OECD Anti-Corruption Division Communications Officer, e-mail [email protected]; (33) 1 45 24 97 04.

For more information on OECD’s work to fight corruption, please visit


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