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Cablegate: Oecd: Doc Gc Cameron Kerry Leads U.S. Delegation To

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 000023

SENT FROM USOECD

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E.O. 1295: N/A
TAGS: ECON KCOR OECD GM SW JA RS UK FR
SUBJECT: OECD: DOC GC Cameron Kerry Leads U.S. Delegation to
December 9, 2009 Anti-Bribery Conference

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SUMMARY
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1. (SBU) Summary: U.S. Department of Commerce General Counsel
Cameron Kerry led the U.S. delegation to an OECD Conference on
December 9, 2009, which commemorated International Anticorruption
Day, the ten-year anniversary of the entry into force of the OECD
Anti-Bribery Convention, and the roll out of a new OECD Anti-Bribery
Recommendation. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke delivered opening
remarks via a live video link from a Washington D.C. Transparency
International (TI) event, and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton
delivered a pre-recorded video message, both of which were well
received by the international audience of over 200 attendees. Each
emphasized the importance of enhanced enforcement of the Convention
as well as accession to the Convention by key trading partners such
as China and Russia. Mr. Kerry participated in the opening
roundtable discussion, delivered an effective closing statement and
recorded a short news interview with the BBC. Both Mr. Kerry and
Secretary Locke's remarks were quoted in the International Herald
Tribune and the New York Times. The US Mission to the OECD will
continue to keep the focus on implementation and outreach to new
signatories in support of U.S. anti-bribery efforts. End Summary.

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OECD CONFERENCE ON FOREIGN BRIBERY
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2. (SBU) The December 9 OECD Anti-Bribery Conference coincided with
the ten-year anniversary of the entry into force of the Anti-Bribery
Convention, and in addition commemorated both International
Anti-corruption Day and the roll out of a new OECD Anti-Bribery
Recommendation. The event was well attended with over 200
participants. Opening remarks for both the Paris OECD event, and a
sister event sponsored by Transparency International in Washington,
were transmitted by digital video to both audiences. A video by
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed the participants to both
events, congratulating the OECD and signatory countries for their
accomplishments, but emphasizing that there were continuing
challenges. Next, OECD Secretary Angel Gurria's remarks on the role
of the organization were broadcast live from Washington. Secretary
of Commerce Gary Locke then spoke, emphasizing the importance of
enforcement. The two events then proceeded with independent agenda.

3. (U) Mr. Kerry participated as one of eight panelists on a high
level roundtable on "Who Pays the Price," [of foreign bribery],
moderated by African BBC correspondent Mr. Dumor. The roundtable
focused on the victims of international bribery, ranging from
companies who are solicited for bribes to poor people in developing
countries who do not have clean drinking water as a result of the
price exacted by corrupt practices. Former Transparency
International founder and current President of the Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Peter Eigen said that "all
of us are victims," and explained the roles of TI and the EITI in
fighting bribery and corruption through transparency. Mr. Kerry
fielded several questions, and in his answers emphasized the point
that we are all victims and therefore must all work together to
fight corruption by enforcing our antibribery laws.
4. (SBU) Former Nigerian prosecutor Nuhu Ribadu spoke powerfully
of the sacrifices that everyday citizens are forced to make while
living with bribery and corruption in his home country, and
criticized Nigerian and other leaders for stealing from the poorest
of the poor. He also focused blame on the companies that are
responsible for bribing leaders, destroying the possibility of
democracy in poor African countries. These illicit funds contribute
to many social ills, as well as provide financial means for
adversaries to engage in numerous conflicts in Africa. Ribadu sang
the praises of the United States for leading by example, not only by
enforcing its foreign bribery law, but also by helping other
countries with mutual legal assistance. He added that the
reputation of U.S. firms was excellent -- Nigerians knew when they
dealt with U.S. companies that they would be dealing in a
straightforward and honest way.
5. (SBU) By contrast, France's legal authorities as well as French
firms came in for a remarkable amount of blunt and unvarnished
criticism, both from roundtable participants and the audience.
Ribadu strongly criticized the French for "not lifting a finger" to
help him when he was a prosecutor requesting French MLA. Some
French members of the audience stood up and gave first-hand accounts
of how bribery had ruined their overseas business, but that they had
gotten no help from French authorities. French company Total

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(participating in the round-table) attempted to portray itself as a
victim of bribery, and was roundly chastised by several speakers.
TI Vice-President Akere Muna was especially critical of Total,
saying that it was absurd that it would call itself a victim, adding
that African leaders could not be expected to turn down bribes in
the face of such poverty. The Areva representative defended Total,
saying that there are different levels of victims and that companies
are now doing their best to address bribery by having effective
compliance programs. The French employers' association
representative MEDEF also highlighted what it is doing to educate
French companies in this area with various publications, including a
booklet for small and medium sized businesses. A fellow panelist
from General Electric Europe pointed out that countries needed not
only to have compliance programs but active enforcement of those
programs for them to have any meaning, and governments needed to
have active enforcement programs as well.
6. (SBU) Mr. Kerry delivered the roundtable closing remarks,
amplifying points raised in Secretary Locke's opening remarks. He
said that his presence, as well as Secretary Lock's and Clinton's
opening remarks, illustrated the importance of combating bribery and
corruption to the United States. He explained that while we believe
that promoting the rule of law by prosecuting foreign bribery will
enhance exports and improve trade and economic conditions worldwide,
it will do more than that: it will improve everyday living
conditions for those who live in societies that have been brought
down by corruption, where it has become a part of every day life.
He said that all of us need to recommit ourselves today to the fight
against corruption. He noted that major trading countries, such as
China, had a responsibility to criminalize the bribery of foreign
public officials and accede to the Convention. He pointed out that
only the Russian Federation had elected to participate in the event
-- China and other major exporting countries had not sent
delegations.
7. (SBU) Kerry said that current parties to the OECD Anti-Bribery
Convention needed to do their part and enforce their laws, and not
make decisions about whether to enforce their laws based upon
national economic interests (he was alluding to the U.K. BAE Saudi
Arabia case). He added that they needed to improve their
implementing legislation where it has been found lacking,
particularly concerning corporate liability. He noted that
companies need to proactively design and implement strong ethics and
compliance programs and that civil society groups, such as
Transparency International, also need to be watchdogs, and inform
governments and the public when things are going wrong. He quoted
President Obama's Ghana speech stating that no "person wants to live
in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of
brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny....
And now is the time for that style of governance to end."
8. (SBU) Comment: Mr. Kerry's remarks were well received, both by
the audience and fellow panelists. The event itself clearly touched
a nerve, with many impassioned comments coming from the floor. Both
Secretary Locke and Mr. Kerry were quoted in the International
Herald Tribune and the New York Times the next day, and an OP-ED by
Secretary Locke was published on December 9 in the Huffington Post.
By multilateralizing the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the OECD
Anti-Bribery Convention continues to be one of the most important
examples of where US leadership at the OECD has leveled the
international paying field for US companies and taken the fight
against international corruption to a new level. The US Mission to
the OECD will continue to support efforts to enhance implementation
of the Convention, both through the Working Group on Bribery and
through Public Diplomacy efforts. The Mission will also work the
enhance outreach efforts to potential new signatory countries, such
as the Russian Federation (which has applied to accede to the OECD
and must sign the Convention as part of that process) and China.
MONROE

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