A study of uncovered bribery cases involving multinational companies suggests that most bribes were paid in developed countries and with the full knowledge of senior management.
The Paris-based think tank the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said that its examination of 400 deals over 15 years found the average bribe was worth almost US$14m (£8.9m, €11.3m) – typically 11% of the value of the transaction.
Bribes were usually paid to win contracts from state-owned or controlled companies in the west, rather than in the developing world, and most bribe payers and takers were from wealthy countries, the 34-nation OECD reported.
It added that the sums handed out in bribes were worth 34.5% of the average profit on a transaction, but the complexity of many deals meant its findings probably revealed only the ‘tip of an iceberg’.
The foreign bribery report reviewed cases from 41 countries that are signatories to the OECD anti-bribery convention, focusing on companies or individuals that were involved in bribing foreign public officials.
Almost two-thirds of cases occurred in four sectors: mining (19%); construction (15%); transportation and storage (15%); and information and communication (10%).
More than a quarter of the bribes were promised or given to employees of state-owned companies and a further 11% involved customs officials. Heads of state and ministers were bribed in 5% of cases but received 11% of total bribes.
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