Changes to Norway’s penal code could weaken its ability to prosecute cases of foreign bribery, warned the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in a report released Thursday.
The OECD report said Norway actively enforces its antibribery laws but also said the penal code changes that took effect in 2015 narrowed Oslo’s ability to assert jurisdiction on bribery offenses committed abroad.
Bribery must be a criminal offense in the other country for Norway to bring a case under its code, which “could undermine Norway’s ability to effectively enforce its law,” the OECD said. “The [OECD] recommends that Norway ensure that it can effectively assert nationality jurisdiction over foreign bribery offenses committed abroad.”
The report follows up a review of Norway antibribery enforcement completed in 2011. It’s an active enforcer, especially relative to its size, the OECD said, noting Norway’s population is about 5 million and it’s a relatively small player in the world economy.
Norway’s opened 10 investigations of potential foreign bribery since 1999, with half resulting in penalties being imposed against at least one defendant, the OECD said. The OECD also made a number of recommendations to clarify and address potential obstacles to future enforcement.
More effort should be made to increase the predictability of several aspects of its foreign-bribery enforcement. “The lack of clarity hinders the business community’s ability to fully understand their legal obligations under the law,” the OECD said.