The OECD Working Group on Bribery considers that it is ready to conduct the Phase 3 evaluation of the Russian Federation, provided that Russia further aligns its foreign bribery offence with the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (OECD Anti-Bribery Convention) by October 2020. The Working Group has conducted several evaluations of Russia’s implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention since 2012 and issued a number of recommendations to align Russia’s legal framework with the Convention’s requirements and to urge Russia to actively enforce its foreign bribery offence.
While Russia has fully implemented certain recommendations, many remain outstanding, most concerningly those on the scope of the foreign bribery offence. For this reason, the Working Group organised a High-Level Mission to Moscow in April 2019 to convey its serious concerns and discuss the status of Russia’s progress. During the High-Level Mission, the Russian Federation reported that it had begun investigating, for the first time, potential foreign bribery offences.
The Working Group considers these updates to be encouraging signs, and it is prepared to conduct the Russian Federation’s Phase 3 evaluation by October 2021; provided that the Russian Federation implements a high-priority recommendation on (i) expanding the scope of the offence of foreign bribery, to include the “promising” and “offering” of a bribe as offences and (ii) eliminating the defences of effective regret and economic extortion for foreign bribery.
During the Phase 3 evaluation, the Working Group will closely examine the Russian Federation’s enforcement of its foreign bribery offence as well as all of the outstanding recommendations that remain from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 evaluations.
The Russian Federation will report back by October 2020 on its full implementation of the high-priority recommendation, after which the Phase 3 evaluation can proceed as scheduled. The Working Group would also welcome receiving updates on Russia’s progress implementing other outstanding recommendations.