'France too easy on foreign bribery'
With only 33 bribery investigations and five convictions since a bribery ban came into force in 2000, France is failing to net enough offenders given French firms' extensive interests abroad, the group monitoring an OECD anti-bribery pact said.
The applied and available penalties, along with the lack of any recourse to measures to confiscate the proceeds of corruption do not appear to be effective, proportionate or dissuasive, the group said in a report.
France should increase the maximum fines and make full use of confiscation and additional penalties that are available under the law, in particular debarment f r om public procurement, it added.
Thirty-nine countries including most of the industrialised world - but not China and India - have signed a 1997 convention to combat bribery in international business transactions.
The convention was drawn up by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and signatory nations are monitored by working groups made up of officials from other member countries.
While French authorities have not breached the convention, they frequently interpret what constitutes bribery too narrowly, allowing cases to slip through the cracks, the report said.
It found that French authorities too often did not pursue foreign bribery cases on the grounds that the offences took place outside of French jurisdiction, even though evidence could often be tracked back to France.
The group also
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