Regulating transnational corporate bribery in the UK and Germany
Lord, Nicholas James
Large-scale cases involving multi-national corporations such as the BAE Systems and Siemens bribery scandals illustrate the complex organisation of such serious trans-national and multi-jurisdictional crimes. Sovereign states that do not have an active enforcement stance against transnational bribery are facing intense criticism from ‘moral entrepreneurs’ such as international and intergovernmental anti-corruption bodies. However, the regulation of such crimes faces a key contradiction: as business transactions become more global, enforcement and regulation remain at the local and national level. In short, national authorities are pressured to respond to trans-national corporate bribery using inter-national frameworks for enforcement.\ud \ud This thesis imports regulatory concepts to understand the variety of enforcement (e.g. criminal prosecution, civil sanctioning) and non-enforcement (e.g. self-regulation, accommodation) practices that help explain policy responses to transnational bribery. Comparing these responses in Germany and the UK is a useful empirical focus for examining the strengths and limitations of national enforcement approaches given both jurisdictions inhabit similar institutional contexts for corporate bribery e.g. relatively strong western European economies, fellow members of the EU/G8, subject to international conventions. The research incorporated a qualitative, comparative research strategy that involved semi-structured interviews, participant observation and bilingual document analysis.\ud \ud The research found that despite significant differences (e.g. centralised or decentralised systems, existence of corporate criminal liability, legal cultures), both UK and German anti-corruption authorities (i) face similar difficulties in enforcement as they are limited by their national jurisdictional boundaries and face several procedural, evidential, legal, financial and structural obstacles but (ii) are converging towards similar prosecution policies (e.g. negotiation of civil settlements for corporations). However, in both cases, evidence suggests enforcement and emerging self-regulatory practices are limited in relation to the anti-corruption actors’ own estimation of the problem. Therefore, (iii) the default position of the response is an accommodation of corporate bribery, even where the will to enforce is high.
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