News & Analysis

OECD concerned over Hungary’s lack of bribery investigations

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is concerned that Hungary has not commenced any foreign bribery investigations or prosecutions in over nine years.

The OECD said that companies operating in the country have significant exposure to export-related risks of the bribery of foreign public officials. This includes foreign subsidiaries of multinational enterprises (MNEs) that use Hungary as a manufacturing base and re-export goods to other markets.

Hungary should therefore significantly enhance enforcement of its foreign bribery offence against corporate vehicles, including foreign subsidiaries, by increasing the resources to manage the current and forecasted foreign bribery caseload, utilising investigative tools, improving the whistleblower system and framework, including the tax authorities, and extend the two-year investigation time-limit, due to the highly complex nature of foreign bribery cases.

However, the OECD also highlighted that Hungary is in a transitional phase, having recently initiated important reforms that could impact on foreign bribery enforcement, such as a settlement procedure, a gradual system for encouraging confessions, and new covert investigative techniques.