OECD advises Portugal to ‘step up’ its foreign bribery enforcement

  • ECO News
  • 8 November 2022

The OECD criticises Portugal in fighting against foreign bribery, urging the country to step up enforcement of the Anti-Bribery Convention.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) leaves criticism on Portugal for its fight against foreign bribery, urging the country to enforce the Anti-Bribery Convention that came into force over two decades ago.

“Since the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention entered into force over 20 years ago, Portugal has not had a single foreign bribery conviction. Detection remains low and Portuguese authorities prematurely closed foreign bribery cases without investigating relevant allegations thoroughly and proactively, with the number of cases terminated having increased significantly compared to Phase 3,” referred the Organisation’s working group, which has just completed the Phase 4 assessment.

It also says “Portugal has not addressed longstanding working group concerns regarding its legal framework, and sanctions for foreign bribery against natural and legal persons do not appear to be effective, proportionate or dissuasive.”

The working group thus leaves several recommendations to Portugal, including maintaining its efforts to raise awareness and provide training on foreign bribery among all relevant public and private sector stakeholders; assessing the legal framework concerning the liability of legal persons and applicable sanctions; improving mechanisms for detecting foreign bribery, among others.

The report also highlights good practices and positive developments made by the country, such as the adoption of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, the General Regime for the Prevention of Corruption, the establishment of the National Mechanism Against Corruption, and the enactment of legislation on whistleblower protection.