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Identification and Quantification of the Proceeds of Bribery
OECD / World Bank
Source of the information:
Anti Corruption Research Network
This study conducted by the OECD and the World Bank analyses the identification and quantification of the proceeds of active bribery in international business transactions. Active bribery is defined as the “…criminal offence committed by paying, offering or promising a bribe or an undue advantage to an official”. The authors contend that while international efforts thus far has put a lot of emphasis on quantifying the amount of bribe, its financial equivalent, and even the indirect proceeds accrued by corrupt public officials, much less emphasis has been placed on the proceeds of active bribery, i.e. the benefit gained by the bribe payer, which is often more substantial than the actual amount of the bribe paid.
As of yet, some countries do not have legislation to address the confiscation of the proceeds of active bribery, considering the necessary calculations too complicated. Other countries, despite the relevant legislation in place, have never put it into effective practice. This leads to a situation in which many bribe payers remain unpunished. One of the reasons for this lack of enforcement is that the proceeds of active bribery derive from otherwise legitimate activity such as a business contract – which could be illegally obtained by paying a bribe – rather than some illegal activity such as drug trafficking. Law enforcement authorities that aim to confiscate the proceeds of bribery need to establish what benefits the company has gained by paying a bribe, but this is problematic when a company engages in bribery in relation to a specific transaction while the rest of its business is legitimate.
This study provides practitioners and policy makers with an outline of how to deal with the technical issues of identification and quantification of proceeds of active bribery. To this end, it analyses the international legal framework for the treatment of the proceeds of active bribery and distinguishes the legal remedies available in various jurisdictions. Furthermore, it sets out and defines five basic types of proceeds of active bribery and analyses how they may be quantified. Finally, the study provides some real life examples to illustrate how issues of quantification work in practice and how complex this process can become.