Too few convictions in France for corruption says OECD
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Tuesday that France was not doing enough to weed out corruption in business.
An report by an OECD working group issued on Tuesday pointed to "feeble" efforts by the French authorities to deal with companies bribing foreign officials.
The group said it was "seriously concerned that despite the very significant role of French companies in the international economy, only 33 foreign bribery proceedings have been initiated" since France joined the international convention against bribing foreign officials in 2000.
The authors of the report described particular concern about "the feeble response of the French authorities” in relation to companies sanctioned by other countries under the anti-bribery convention.
The OECD, which provides analysis and policy guidance for 34 industrialised countries, praised efforts by France to tighten anti-corruption legislation but concluded that they are not yet effective.
"The applied and available penalties, along with the lack of any recourse to measures to confiscate the proceeds of corruption do not appear to be effective, proportionate or dissuasive," the working group concluded.
It criticised the French decision to pursue only cases which are considered crimes in the countries concerned, and also condemned France for not enabling victims of corruption from outside the EU to initiate civil or criminal proceedings.
The OECD working group also expressed concern about a lack of adequate resources for investigations.
While it praised recent efforts to increase the independence of prosecutors, it urged that more be done to ensure they do not come under political influence.
The OECD working group noted that the 33 corruption cases launched by France to date have resulted in only five convictions, and that only one of those was against a company and this was still not final.
The report called for the confiscation of any gains from corruption and a ban on convicted companies and individuals winning public contracts.