According to a study by “Transparency International”, Lithuania is ranked among countries with limited implementation of international commitments and was rated worse for its law enforcement efforts than neighboring Estonia and Latvia.
Between 2016 and 2019, the Lithuanian Special Investigation Service (STT) launched three prie-trial investigations into bribery of foreign officials by Lithuanian companies operating abroad: bribery of an aircraft and engineering company in the United States, alleged crimes of a frozen products company in Russia and the possible bribery of the pharmaceutical company in Latvia. The latter case is the only one of the three that is still ongoing. The investigation into bribery of a US official has not reached the court due to a lack of evidence, while the crimes linked to a Russian frozen products company have not been fully investigated as the legal immunity of the suspect has not been waived.
Lithuania has been awarded 3 points for the initiated investigations and it is classified among countries with limited enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.
The United States (1236), the United Kingdom (147), Switzerland (125), and Israel (38) have been rated the best for law enforcement investigations and their outcomes. Together these countries account for 16.5% of world export. The number of countries actively enforcing the Convention has decreased by one third – in 2018 there were seven and accounted for 27% of world export.
Neighbouring Estonia (7) and Latvia (6) scored higher than Lithuania, but they also fall into the same group of countries with limited compliance with OECD obligations to investigate foreign bribery. 19 countries, including Russia (1), Poland (3), the Czech Republic (3) and Hungary (0), have little or no enforcement.
“I would like our businesses and law enforcement institutions to comply even better with international commitments and to pay more attention to promoting business transparency. The examples of neighbouring Latvia and Estonia demonstrate that this is achievable,“ – says Sergejus Muravjovas, CEO of “Transparency International” Lithuania.
Based on the findings of this study, Transparency international Lithuanian chapter recommends:
- To pay more attention to the promotion of international cooperation in investigating such cases;
- to publish information on this type of investigations and cases;
- to open the beneficial ownership register in an open data format;
- improve the implementation of the Law on Protection of Whistleblowers;
- strengthen money laundering prevention;
- to better inform the public and private sectors about the foreign bribery risks involved.
Lithuania committed to investigating business bribery of foreign officials abroad in 2017 when it signed the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. In total, this Convention has been signed by all 37 OECD countries and 7 non-OECD countries.
The study was carried out by the Transparency International (TI) Secretariat together with national TI chapters and experts in all OECD member countries (except Iceland) as well as non-OECD members China, India, Hong Kong and Singapore. The study assessed the number of pre-trial investigations and cases commenced and concluded in each state in 2014-2019. These results were also analyzed taking into account the export volumes of the countries. The analysis divided the countries into 4 groups: (1) active, (2) moderate, (3) limited, and (4) little or no enforcement of the OECD Convention.
A short summary of the findings can be found here (in Lithuanian).
The full report can be found here.
Sergejus Muravjovas, firstname.lastname@example.org