This Guidance replaces the Wolfsberg Statement against Corruption issued by the Wolfsberg Group* in 2007. Transparency International and the Basel Institute on Governance have been closely involved in the development of this Guidance, which aims to:
Bribery is commonly described as involving the promise, offer/acceptance or transfer of an advantage either directly or indirectly, in order to induce or reward the improper performance of a function or an activity. It may occur in a commercial arrangement (so called commercial bribery) or involve the misuse of public office or public power for private gain in order to obtain, retain or direct business or to secure any other improper advantage in the conduct of business.
The fight against corruption requires a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder approach including supranational and national government agencies and law enforcement, assisted by civil society and the wider business community. The members of the Wolfsberg Group are committed to participating in this fight and are opposed to all forms of corruption, including commercial bribery and the bribery of public officials and commit to abide by laws designed to fight corruption.
The Wolfsberg Group members recognise that their institutions may be misused for the purpose of paying bribes or laundering their proceeds and, as such, recognise the need to take practicable measures to counteract such misuse. While members are legally obliged to report suspicious activity in accordance with applicable laws that may be related to corruption when detected in customers’ financial operations, in many instances and without further information (for example, absent red flags), it may not be apparent from account activity that misuse is occurring and therefore it is hardly possible for financial institutions to detect whether customers' transactions involve, or are otherwise linked to, corruption.
* The Wolfsberg Group consists of the following leading international banks: Banco Santander, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi-UFJ, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Société Générale and UBS. This Statement was made in conjunction with Transparency International and Professor Mark Pieth of the Basel Institute on Governance.
This Guidance addresses the issue of corruption as follows:
3. Financial Institutions' Internal Measures/Anti-Corruption Programme
Financial institutions should risk assess their own activities, products and services as appropriate to develop and implement effective Anti-Corruption policies, procedures and measures, which are proportionate to the corruption risks identified. The following internal measures are important mitigants that a financial institution should consider implementing to prevent bribery and to protect employees, as well as the organisation itself, in the event that an allegation of direct or indirect bribery or corruption is raised:
4. Misuse of the Financial System through Corruption
Financial institutions may be misused to further acts of corruption or to launder the proceeds of bribery. For example:
In many instances, and without further information (for example, absent red flags), it may not be apparent from account activity that misuse is occurring and, therefore, it is hardly possible for financial institutions to make a distinction between accounts and transactions associated with corruption and those accounts and transactions that have a legal and sound commercial basis. This is particularly, but by no means exclusively, the case when dealing with substantial companies with complex business operations. The primary responsibility to ensure that funds are neither collected nor used for illicit operations, including bribery, must rest with a financial institution's customer or that customer's representatives. This is particularly true since a financial institution will seldom have a complete overview of its customer’s financial activity.
Transactions involving the proceeds of corruption often follow patterns of behaviour common to money laundering associated with other criminal activities. Adherence to existing anti-money laundering policies, procedures and controls is therefore important in the fight against corruption. By the same token, the standards and guidance set out in existing Wolfsberg papers are similarly relevant to determine and manage money laundering risks related to corruption.*
5. Risk Based Approach
The Anti-Corruption programme addressing internal bribery risks should be based upon the financial institution's wider risk management strategy which will encompass a risk based approach. How a financial institution’s risk assessment methodology and its anti-money laundering measures may apply to customer related corruption is addressed in Appendix 2 and is based on the following criteria: Services Risk, Country Risk, Customer Risk, Industry Risk and Transaction Risk Indicators ('red flags').
Where risk factors are identified, an assessment should be made as to whether the customer should be the subject of enhanced due diligence, transaction monitoring, senior management approval and/or other measures, including review and oversight of their financial operations, as may be appropriate. In some circumstances the filing of a Suspicious Activity Report or other notification to the authorities may be required by local law or regulations.
* See http://www.wolfsberg-prinicples.com
6. A Multi-Stakeholder Approach
The International community recognises the need for States to cooperate with one another in order to prevent and eradicate corruption. Organisations like the OECD and the UN also recognise that if efforts are to be effective, the involvement and support of individuals and groups outside the public sector are required, including civil society, non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations. Private sector companies and their related industry organisations, Chambers of Commerce and other industry organisations also have an important role to play in this regard in apprising financial institutions of developments to prevent corruption by industrial sectors or individual firms.
The Wolfsberg Group supports the publicly led multi-stakeholder approach to addressing the following important areas where further dialogue and co-operation may lead to improvements in preventing and deterring bribery and other corrupt activity as it affects the financial sector, in particular:
The Wolfsberg Group believes that constructive dialogue in this area will help to increase the knowledge and ability of such agencies and institutions to identify trends, patterns, money laundering techniques and mechanisms used in the furtherance of acts of bribery and corruption and, with an effective public private partnership, financial institutions will be better placed to assist in the fight to prevent and/or detect and disclose incidents of corruption.
* See for example the World Bank Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Program.
Download the full paper today
Follow the Bouncing Risk
The political tension in the Middle East has had unprecedented effects on governments in Tunisia and Egypt
© Reed Business Information Limited 2013