Parliamentary bill with a new anti-corruption provision

Michael Tetzschner, Deputy Chairman of the Norwegian Parliament's Standing Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs, has, together with Partner Jan Fougner and Wiersholm, proposed a new bill with clear parallels to the world's most up-to-date anti-corruption legislation – the UK Bribery Act.

Under the current rules, Norwegian companies are expected to take an active role in the fight against corruption and implement measures in that respect. In addition, companies are obliged to prevent acts of corruption under foreign anti-corruption legislation as well.

Do the companies' efforts pay off?

There is a lot indicating that they do not. Under the current rules, it is often unclear for companies what is expected of them in terms of prevention and how good compliance work and solid routines are supposed to pay off. For instance, there is often doubt as regards which acts of corruption a company is responsible for. And as regards prevention, this is currently only one element in the assessment of whether corporate penalty is to be imposed on a company.

Extensive changes

The proposed new provision is clearer and more predictable. Good prevention and thorough compliance work are to grant the company impunity.

―Norwegian companies must take anti-corruption measures seriously and give greater priority to compliance work compared to what has previously been the case, says Partner and anti-corruption expert Jan Fougner. However, companies should only be punished for acts of corruption if the company has failed to implement and maintain anti-corruption systems and procedures. ―With the new bill, companies' anti-corruption measures and compliance work will therefore be rewarded to a greater extent and be given greater formal importance compared to the current rules, Fougner says.

Few objections

The bill will be brought before the Norwegian Parliament on the last day before Easter. It has already been circulated for comments from relevant bodies. – I have received few objections to the bill, said initiator Michael Tetzschner at Oslo Compliance Forum, hosted by Wiersholm, last week. ―I therefore believe that the bill will become Norwegian law very soon.