The Netherlands could do more to combat bribery

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While the number of prosecutions in foreign bribery cases is on the rise worldwide, the Netherlands has been only “moderately” successful in bringing corporations and individuals to account according to a new report by the anti-corruption NGO Transparency International.

Titled “Exporting Corruption?", the report released today tracked the progress of the 39 countries signed up to the 1997 OECD Anti-Bribery Convention to fight global corruption.

While the US, Germany and even Italy are among the world’s most stringent enforcers in curbing the foreign bribes that often lead to better contracts or shortcuts around local regulations, the Netherlands is grouped with Argentina, Japan and France as needing to get tougher in the fight against corporate corruption.

Of the nine foreign bribery cases in the Netherlands, says the report, there have been no sanctions handed down to any individuals or companies. Four investigations are still pending, including one reportedly involving illegal payments in Jamaica by Trafi gura Beheer BV, the world’s largest independent oil trader.

Dutch authorities also failed to respond on time to a 2008 Polish request to investigate electronics giant Philips, which led to the dismissal of Poland’s bribery case against the company.

Transparency International is calling for increased sanctions, more cooperation between police and financial investigators and whistleblower protection in the Netherlands.