OECD Concerned About Estonian Anti-Bribery Efforts


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has criticized Estonia's efforts to tamp down bribery from foreign sources, saying in a new report that the country may not have an adequate legal framework yet to handle it.

The report from the OECD, released this month, noted "with concern" that there is a lack of knowledge about foreign bribery risks among Estonian public officials and the private sector.

Because of the openness of the Estonian economy and its efforts to expand its businesses abroad, the country "needs needs to ensure that foreign bribery allegations are thoroughly investigated by gathering information from diverse sources, including foreign authorities,” the OECD report said.

Estonia became a signatory to the OECD's anti-bribery convention in 2005. The report, a third follow-up to 2008 and 2010 studies of the country, notes that Estonia since joining the convention has not prosecuted a single case of bribery. Moreover, the OECD said, the perception that Estonians don’t bribe abroad may undercut enforcement efforts.

"Estonia needs to provide training for its law enforcement officials, who play a central role in enforcing the foreign bribery offense, on the proper detection, investigation, prosecution and sanctioning of foreign bribery and related offenses," the report stated.

The report praised Estonia for its adoption of the Anti-Corruption Act in 2012 and its provisions on whistleblower protections to private sector employees. It also noted that the government has made an effort to work with the private sector in its anti-corruption strategy.

Along with Estonia, the OECD also released critiques of anti-bribery efforts in Slovenia, Spain and Japan. The team that produced Estonia's report had a three-day on-site visit in January.

Estonia will make a follow-up presentation on its implementation of the committee's recommendations within a year's time, and submit a written report by June 2016.