An Israeli guard. (Nati Shohat/Flash90) Nati Shohat/Flash90
Israeli guard

International watchdog group gives Israel top marks for fighting corruption.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

Israel was recognized this week for its efforts to fight corruption, scoring better than the vast majority of countries when it comes to enforcement against bribery of foreign officials.

For the second year in a row the organization Transparency International ranked Israel as one of the best at fighting corruption in international transactions.

Transparency International battles corruption worldwide and ranked Israel in the top four countries along with the U.S., Great Britain and Switzerland. The annual survey rates the performance of 47 leading global exporters, including 43 countries that are signatories to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention, in cracking down on bribery of foreign public officials by companies operating abroad.

The Transparency International report this year found that only the four aforementioned countries actively engage in enforcement to catch foreign bribery, compared to seven countries in 2018.

“Our research shows that many countries are barely investigating foreign bribery,” said Gillian Dell, the lead author of the Transparency report. “Unfortunately, it’s all too common for businesses in wealthy countries to export corruption to poorer countries, undermining institutions and development.”

Approved in 1997, the OECD convention prohibits foreign countries or companies from using bribes to win contracts and licenses, or to dodge taxes and local laws.

The report also checked on China and found that the world’s largest exporter, along with India, which also did not sign the OECD convention, was found to conduct “little or no enforcement.”

Transparency International operates around the world in over 100 countries including Israel, where its office is headed by a former head of Israel’s labor court, Justice Nili Arad, who did the research for the report.

The 2020 report noted that between 2016 and 2019, Israel launched 10 investigations into foreign bribery. One case ended in criminal charges and three others resulted in sanctions against those involved.

Two of the cases involved the United States

“Too many governments choose to turn a blind eye when their companies use bribery to win business in foreign markets,” Transparency International head Delia Ferreira Rubio said. “G-20 countries and other major economies have a responsibility to enforce the rules.”

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