Finland - Corruption
The Internal Security Program of 2019 does not list corruption as a risk in Finland and there is no dedicated national anti-corruption strategy. Over the past decade, Finland has ranked in the top three on Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). In 2018, Finland was ranked third on the CPI.
Corruption in Finland is covered by the Criminal Code and penalties range from fines to imprisonment of up to four years. Both giving and accepting a bribe is considered criminal and Finland has statutory tax rules concerning non-deductibility of bribes. Finland does not have an authority specifically charged to prevent corruption. The Ministry of Justice coordinates anti-corruption matters, but Finland’s EU anti-corruption contact is the Ministry of the Interior. The National Bureau of Investigation also monitors corruption, while the tax administration has guidelines obliging tax officials to report suspected offences, including foreign bribery, and the Ministry of Finance has guidelines on hospitality, benefits, and gifts.
The Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding (273/2009) delineates election funding and disclosure rules. The Act requires presidential candidates, Members of Parliament, and Deputy Members to declare total campaign financing, the financial value of each contribution, and donor names for donations exceeding EUR 1,500.
Finland does not regulate lobbying; there is no requirement for lobbyists to register or report contact with public officials. However, in March 2019, a parliamentary working group headed by the Speaker urged the establishment of a lobbying register to improve transparency regarding possible interest groups influences on members of Parliament. The working group said the registry would initially cover national-level decision making, later being extended to municipal and regional decision-making organs. The group is calling for the registry — already in use in the European Parliament — to be implemented during the next government term.
Finland is a signatory to the OECD Convention on Anti-Bribery, but Transparency International released a progress report in September 2018 rating Finland as having “little to no enforcement” and opining that the most significant deterioration of the level of enforcement had taken place in Finland.
In March 2019, the OECD Working Group on Bribery noted that Finland has shown limited progress in addressing the Working Group’s concerns. In 2017 the Working Group stated that Finland still faces issues related to “old-boys’ networks,” and noted several conflict of interest scandals in 2017 that involved issues concerning blurred lines between public and private interests, and public office holders who had not recused themselves from decisions affecting them. Nonetheless, in the latest report the Working Group notes that Finland has taken steps to amend its Criminal Code on sanctions and to develop guidance specifically targeting SMEs.
In March 2018, the Council of Europe’s anticorruption body GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) issued recommendations to Finland for preventing corruption among ministers, senior government officials and members of law enforcement agencies (the police and the Border Guard). The report recommended that Finland adopt and implement a national anticorruption strategy and pay special attention to the risks related to privatization in the planned health, social services and regional government reform.
The National Bureau of Investigation is responsible for the investigation of organized and international crimes, including economic crime and corruption, and operates an anti-corruption unit to detect economic offences. The Ministry of Justice has set up a specialist network, which meets a few times a year to discuss and exchange information.
In November 2018, Helsinki announced plans for a new service to anonymously inform authorities about suspected corruption. At the beginning of 2017, a new Public Procurement Act based on the new EU directives on public procurement entered into force. Under the new law, a foreign bribery conviction remains mandatory grounds for exclusion from public contracts.
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