Guest Post: Guidelines for Settling Foreign Bribery Cases

The OECD Antibribery Convention requires parties to impose “effective, proportionate, and dissuasive criminal penalties” on those found guilty of bribing an official of another nation. As GAB readers know, most prosecutions for foreign bribery end not with a trial but with a settlement (here). GAB readers also know that a vigorous debate has ensued on this blog (here and here) and elsewhere (here, here and here) as to whether these settlements have met the “effective, proportionate, and dissuasive” test. In response, and with the assistance of the private bar, the OECD has been developing guidelines to help prosecutors and defense counsel ensure that future settlements do.

 GAB is delighted to welcome this guest post by Peter Solmssen, a leader in this effort from the private bar, in which he describes where the guidelines project stands.  As General Counsel of Siemens AG, Mr. Solmssen negotiated its settlement of foreign bribery cases with, among others, the Federal Republic of German and the United States.  He now chairs the Non-trial Resolutions of Bribery Cases Subcommittee of the International Bar Association (IBA).

Work on international guidelines for the settlement of foreign bribery cases is accelerating. The IBA made its latest submission to the OECD Working Group on Bribery January 22. It there urged the Working Group to move quickly with its anticipated international guidelines on settling transnational bribery cases and to resolve those aspects of settlements that remain contentious. As described here, the IBA has been pushing the OECD to issue guidelines that will encourage prosecutors to cooperate internationally and programmatically to increase the use of settlements, or non-trial resolutions as they are formally referred to internationally.

Continue reading