Slovenia’s lack of enforcement of foreign bribery remains a serious concern as allegations of political interference in criminal investigations and prosecutions escalate


Foreign bribery enforcement is lacking in Slovenia, which has had no foreign bribery cases reach trial stage since 1999. Worrying allegations of political interference in law enforcement agencies tasked with investigating and prosecuting foreign bribery have been mounting in recent years, in particular in relation to the National Bureau of Investigation, the Slovenian agency responsible for investigating foreign bribery, according to a new report by the OECD Working Group on Bribery.

The 44-country OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed its Phase 4 evaluation of Slovenia’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments.

The Group notes that no cases of foreign bribery have been detected by government agencies other than law enforcement authorities, including the FIU, the Financial Administration or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Although several investigations have been opened following media reports, there are serious concerns that media in Slovenia may currently not operate in an environment conducive to the independent reporting of potential foreign bribery allegations.

The Group made a range of recommendations to Slovenia to improve its capacity to combat foreign bribery, including to:

Prioritise improving detection and step up its enforcement of the foreign bribery offence;

Safeguard the independence of law enforcement agencies;

Ensure specialised training is provided to law enforcement authorities and judges on detecting, investigating and sanctioning foreign bribery;

Take all measures necessary to ensure that the definition of foreign public official is consistent with the Convention and amend relevant legislation to ensure that the defence of effective regret does not apply to foreign bribery cases.

The Report also highlights positive developments, such as increased detection of suspected foreign bribery, notably by monitoring press reports and the opening of investigations based on media reporting; Slovenia’s strong legal framework for the protection of whistleblowers and its introduction of a beneficial ownership register. The Working Group also welcomed the adoption of long-awaited amendments to the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act.

Furthermore, the Working Group will follow-up, among others, on the liability of legal persons for the foreign bribery offence in practice, the protections actually afforded to whistleblowers and the resources allocated to law enforcement authorities and the judiciary.

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development