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The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) publishes its Third Round Evaluation Report on Iceland

[Strasbourg, 16/04/08] The Council of Europeís Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its Third Round Evaluation Report on Iceland. The report, which was adopted on 4 April 2008, has been made public following the agreement of the authorities. It focuses on two distinct themes: criminalisation of corruption and transparency of party funding.

Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [theme I], GRECO recognises that Icelandic criminal legislation largely complies with the relevant provisions of the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173). GRECO nevertheless calls upon Iceland to ensure that Members of Parliament are covered by the provisions on bribery and trading in influence. GRECO also found the existing penal sanctions in respect of bribery in the private sector too weak. Finally, it is crucial that a more proactive approach in the detection, prosecution and punishment of corruption starts being pursued in Iceland (only one bribery offence has been prosecuted in the last ten years).

Concerning transparency of party funding [theme II], GRECO commends the introduction of a new legislative framework on political financing, which closely follows the requirements of the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on common rules against corruption in the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns. A few shortcomings were nevertheless identified; in particular, transparency rules in relation to the campaign finances of presidential candidates are still needed. Likewise, it remains critical that further arrangements are introduced to allow an easy and timely access of the public to information on political finances. GRECO emphasised that, to a large extent, the challenges are, today, more in the enforcement of legislation. For this reason, GRECO calls for the review of the current sanctions in order to ensure that they reflect the severity of the range of infringements that are possible under the law in this area.

The report, as a whole, addresses 15 recommendations to Iceland. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations towards the end of 2009.