24 May 2011, 15:04

Russia to join OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

Russia to join OECD Anti-Bribery Convention
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A ministerial meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development kicks off in Paris on Wednesday, in a gathering that will specifically see Moscow sign the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The Voice of Russia’s Polina Chernitsa has more. 38 countries have already joined the Convention that came into force back in 1999.

A ministerial meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development kicks off in Paris on Wednesday, in a gathering that will specifically see Moscow sign the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The Voice of Russia’s Polina Chernitsa has more.

38 countries have already joined the Convention that came into force back in 1999. The document “establishes legally binding standards to criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions” – something that should be “in line with the jurisdictional and other basic legal principles of each member country”, according to the OECD.

Earlier, OECD head Jose Angel Gurria said that Russia joining the Convention will help member countries to consolidate efforts in addressing what is now seen as one of the most pressing problems in the world. Significantly, the Russian legislation will get a new impulse in this direction, Gurria pointed out. He was echoed by Andrei Klimov, deputy head of the Russian Duma’s International Affairs Committee.

"The international community is trying to improve the situation amid people’s efforts to arrive at a political accommodation on the matter, Klimov says. For his part, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has repeatedly indicated his country’s intent to collaborate with foreign executive and legislative bodies, not least because Russia is loath to be perceived as a corrupt country. If we join the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, we will be able to harmonize our legislation, Klimov says, referring, as an example, to Russia’s Criminal Code that is yet to be corrected so as to comply with the Convention. All the more so, he concludes, that our Constitution stipulates giving more priority to the observation of international norms, which were earlier endorsed by Russian authorities."

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom said last week that corruption in EU countries currently costs at least one percent of their GDP, which in turn stood at more than 16 trillion dollars last year, according to the IMF. Malmstrom also said that the cost of global corruption now equals more than 2 percent of the world’s GDP. 

Speaking at the 2011 International Legal Forum in St.Petersburg late last week , President Dmitry Medvedev expressed hope that Moscow joining the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention will help Russia further expand its international clout.

"A global challenge, corruption exists in all countries," Medvedev says. The international community should do more to stem this evil, he adds, signaling his country’s desire to ratify a sheaf of relevant conventions in an anti-corruption drive that Medvedev says he hopes will help Russia to finally enter the WTO and the OECD.

He was echoed by the OECD chief, who did not rule out that Russia may join his organization in the “immediate future”, and that the OECD has been backing Russia’s market economy push since the early 1990s. “We are ready and willing to continue to support Russia’s drive for shifting to a qualitatively new level of development”, Gurria emphasized.

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