A top U.S. Justice Department official today encouraged Russia to continue its effort to pass anti-bribery legislation to strengthen the country's fight against corruption.
Addressing an anti-corruption summit in Russia, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer lauded the country's push to criminalize foreign bribery and increase penalties for corruption-related crimes.
Breuer touted the success of the department’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement, identifying recent success in criminal prosecutions.
“In the United States, we have seen aggressive FCPA enforcement lead to changes in corporate behavior, bringing the problem of foreign bribery into the foreground for many corporations,” Breuer said in prepared remarks. “The enactment of significant anti-bribery legislation—accompanied by the promise of subsequent enforcement—could have the same effect here.”
Breuer said Russia’s commitment to anti-corruption enforcement could encourage investment in the country, “showing the rest of the world that Russia is serious about strengthening its rule of law.”
He cited the United States’ “real concerns” about the injection of political considerations into criminal enforcement, noting remarks Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made in December upon the conviction in the second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky on charges of embezzlement and money laundering.
“It is well recognized that Russia has urgent work to do to change the perception abroad that corruption is stronger here than the rule of law,” Breuer said. “That work has begun.”