In the past 15 years, international initiatives against corruption, including treaties under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations, have changed the international legal and business environment. Conduct once widely tolerated is increasingly subject to investigation and prosecution in multiple jurisdictions.
Canada was quick to sign the OECD’s 1997 anti-bribery convention and to enact the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) in 1998. But for many years, Canada lagged behind other OECD countries in enforcing its anti-corruption law. That began to change in 2007, when the Canadian government established a dedicated international anti-corruption unit within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The first significant conviction came in 2011, when Niko Resources was fined C$9.5 million (US$9.3 million) for bribing Bangladesh’s then energy minister. More recently, Griffiths Energy International pleaded guilty under the CFPOA on 15 January 2013 to paying a US$2 million bribe in relation to the negotiation of an oil production sharing contract with the government of Chad. Griffiths was fined C$10.35 million, the highest penalty yet imposed under the act.
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Matthew Kronby and Milos Barutciski are partners at Bennett Jones LLP, a law firm with offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Washington DC, and Beijing.
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