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The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) publishes its report on Switzerland

[Strasbourg, 02/06/08] The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its Joint First and Second Round Evaluation Report on Switzerland (link to the report). The report is made public with the agreement of the country’s authorities.

The major efforts made by Switzerland since 2000 must be continued in order to increase its ability to prevent, detect and punish corruption in its various domestic forms, for example in connection with public procurement and tendering, and the issuing of permits, authorisations and licences, which are among the sectors at risk.

The country's highly decentralised structure requires a strengthening of dialogue between institutions in order to determine – in the light of research – the challenges to be faced, the resources available and the objectives to be attained in the area of anti-corruption. The GET has observed that the status and independence of the federal prosecution service are still a subject of debate, sometimes quite public. The judicial authorities – which generally have the necessary resources – would also benefit from more training on the multifaceted nature and technical aspects of corruption inquiries. The measures available to combat the proceeds of corruption are generally satisfactory. Similarly, the basic machinery is in place for preventing corruption in government. Nevertheless, further efforts are needed to improve transparency and access to information, strengthen financial audits and other forms of scrutiny at local level, develop training on ethics and establish clearer rules on conflicts of interest and ancillary activities of public officials. At federal level, general legislation on officials' duty to report offences and offering them protection against any reprisals would help to combat corruption. Finally, Switzerland introduced corporate criminal liability, including for corruption, in 2003. This is a positive reform; a number of steps still need to be taken to facilitate its application, such as familiarising practitioners with the new rules and establishing a system of criminal records for legal persons that have been convicted.

GRECO has issued 13 recommendations, in total, to Switzerland in the above-mentioned areas. Measures taken to implement these recommendations will be addressed by GRECO in the context of a specific compliance procedure in the second half of 2009.

Link to the website of the Federal Department of Justice and Police of Switzerland

Report also available in German and Italian (as translated by the Swiss authorities).