AMSTERDAM–The Netherlands only carries out “limited” monitoring to make sure that bribery and corruption are not an issue in deals involving foreign companies and countries, according to a new report by Transparency International investigators.
Eleven countries, including Austria, Chile, Greece and France, fall into the same category, researchers of the global anti-corruption coalition said.
The report investigates whether 44 leading economies are complying with the organisation’s anti-bribery convention.
The Netherlands is one of several countries that have improved their treatment of whistle-blowers, although “half the Dutch companies studied were not compliant with the legal requirement of an internal whistleblowing policy,” the report said.
Nevertheless, the Netherlands has upped spending on specialist help and has appointed a special prosecutor to coordinate investigations, the report pointed out.
During the period under investigation – 2014-2017 – the Netherlands opened at least seven investigations, started two cases and concluded four cases with sanctions, including three major out-of-court settlements. These include SBM Offshore, Telia, KPMG/Ballast Nedam and most recently ING.
Despite these settlements, Transparency International recommends that the Netherlands “develop a better policy on settlements, including consideration of the role of victims and asset recovery and a sentencing guideline.”
The organisation also says more cases concerning foreign bribery should actually be prosecuted in court with a full trial. In particular, the ING settlement has generated much criticism because no-one will face prosecution for the offences, Transparency International said.