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G20 Remains Committed to Fighting Corruption

Denisse Rudich, Director, London Office, G20 Research Group
December 1, 2018

Leaders of the world's richest countries present at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires indicated that they would remain committed to fighting corruption. But this time, they looked inward to address public sector systemic issues while looking to promote measures to generate more effectiveness for initiatives previously made.

This is a key policy area for the G20, with the Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) having been established at the 2010 Toronto Summit.┬áThis is also particularly relevant to the region as this is the first time that the G20 summit has been held in Latin America as leading politicians in two of the regions largest economies have been embroiled in allegations of corruption. In Brazil, the "Car Wash" corruption scandal that began as a money laundering investigation into the Petrobras bribes for contracts activities has mushroomed into a multi-billion dollar affair that led to the jailing of former president Luiz Inècio Lula da Silva. In Argentina itself, the "corruption notebooks" have also rocked the political establishment after the unveiling of meticulous records kept by a chauffeur-turned-whistleblower allegedly show that bribe payments of between $35.6 million to $200 million were paid to former president Cristina Fernèndez de Kirchner's husband and his business associates.

The G20 leaders indicated that they remain committed to preventing and fighting corruption and made a number of initiatives, many an extension of previous initiatives made in this area. More specifically, the G20 agreed on the new action plan for the work for the ACWG for 2019–2020. They further endorsed the Principles on Preventing Corruption and Ensuring Integrity of State-Owned Enterprises and as well as those drafted on Preventing and Managing Conflict of Interests in the Public Sector to foster transparency and integrity in the public and private sector. More detailed guidance is expected at the 2019 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

Leaders further pledged to "continue practical cooperation to fight corruption and other economic crimes and ways to tackle them" and to enhance cooperation on the return of persons sought for anti-bribery and corruption offences and stolen assets. They asked international organizations to report back during the next G20 presidency. The G20 also called for the effective implementation of United Nations Convention against Corruption, including criminalization of bribery of public officials, and for members to work toward possible adherence to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

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