Home » Study on corruption – Many Swiss companies involved in corruption abroad – News

Study on corruption – Many Swiss companies involved in corruption abroad – News

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Study on corruption – Many Swiss companies involved in corruption abroad – News

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Every third Swiss company with foreign business is said to be involved in corruption.

A pharmaceutical manufacturer who bribed employees in Greek clinics to boost sales. Or an industrial company that financially favors public officials in various countries in order to get contracts. Such cases crop up again and again, including those involving Swiss companies.

The fact that corruption takes place through convoluted paths makes it difficult to uncover such cases. But – at least that’s what a study by the Graubünden University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with Transparency International suggests – the number is likely to be huge.

Boards of directors liable for bribery

539 Swiss companies that operate abroad were surveyed. Of these, more than half (52 percent) said they had been confronted with demands for informal payments, i.e. bribery. Of these, 63 percent said they would comply with such demands. That is why the study comes to the conclusion that one in three Swiss companies is involved in corruption abroad.

Bribery of foreign officials has only been a criminal offense in Switzerland since 2000. In 2016, the legislature tightened the screw further. Since then, the boards of directors of Swiss companies and foreign companies with a connection to Switzerland have had a clear responsibility. You need to know what preventive measures are in place and adapt them if they appear to be insufficient. Otherwise they will be liable to prosecution.

Economiesuisse is also committed to fighting corruption

The economic umbrella organization Economiesuisse also admits that corruption is a serious problem for many Swiss companies operating abroad – especially for SMEs. “In view of the reputational risk and the stricter criminal law regulations at home and abroad, it is important for internationally oriented companies to consciously deal with the dangers of corruption and to take appropriate preventive measures in order to optimally contain the risk of corruption,” says Economiesuisse when asked.

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The umbrella organization is also committed to fighting corruption and raising awareness among Swiss companies, for example with the “Swiss Code of Best Practice for Corporate Governance”.

The two cases mentioned at the beginning actually took place in Switzerland. The pharmaceutical manufacturer is Novartis. The company eventually cashed in in the US and paid $345 million to settle the case. In the second case, Alstom Network was pilloried and ultimately had to pay almost 40 million francs.

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