The next review of Sweden’s implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which was scheduled for October 2018, has been delayed until 2019. This is due to the fact that Sweden has not yet enacted legislation to urgently address remaining recommendations to reform its laws on corporate liability for the bribery of
foreign public officials. The Swedish authorities expect that a final bill to address the Working Group’s key unimplemented recommendations will be presented to Parliament in March 2019 and adopted in spring 2019 at the earliest. The Working Group’s recommendations, which date from 2012, remain unimplemented despite repeated calls for action.
The Working Group recommended that Sweden raise the maximum fine for corporations that engage in international bribery, which is only 10 million Swedish Krona (approximately 1.2 million Euros), an amount considered inadequate in view of the size of the Swedish economy, sectors of business activity, and trade and investment partners. The Working Group is concerned that in practice companies may not be held liable for foreign bribery unless individuals are prosecuted and convicted. This practice is not always appropriate, such as when individuals have absconded or died. The Working Group stresses its recommendation that Sweden ensure that companies can be held responsible for international bribery committed by employees under the direction or authorisation of senior managers, or when senior managers fail to prevent employees from bribing. The current law also contains potential loopholes that could enable Swedish companies to avoid liability by using foreign nationals to engage in bribery.
The Working Group has decided, following an invitation from Sweden, to send a high-level mission to Stockholm in 2018 to meet with senior officials to reinforce the message that Sweden must adopt the recommended reforms. The Working Group expects that it will also have an opportunity to meet with Members of Parliament to convey the urgency of the needed reforms, and that they must meet the standards under the Anti-Bribery Convention.