OECD calls for tougher anti-bribery laws

Greece must step up enforcement of laws that prohibit the bribing of foreign officials, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development?s Working Group on Bribery said.

In one specific case of bribery of a foreign public official, Greek authorities ?failed to open a domestic investigation? for almost two years after first discovering it, the OECD group said in a report published on Wednesday. The case raises ?grave concerns because of apparent inaction,? it said.

The 69-page report is the latest from an international organization calling on Greece to improve administrative practices as the country?s politicians grapple with the demands of an European Union-led bailout. The so-called troika of representatives from the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission is preparing a report on the nation?s recovery plan that may be published next month.

The Paris-based OECD said that tackling foreign bribery is a particular concern in Greece because of the size of its shipping industry. Greece controls about 16 percent of the global maritime freight tonnage, more than any other country, according to OECD estimates.

The shipping industry is ?susceptible to bribe solicitations by foreign officials, especially in the form of facilitation payments,? according to the report. [Bloomberg]

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