20/07/2022 - On 30 April and 3 May 2022, the Korean National Assembly adopted substantial amendments to the Prosecution Service Act and Criminal Procedure Act. The amendments, which will enter into force on 10 September 2022, seriously hamper the Prosecution Office’s ability to investigate and prosecute foreign bribery offences, according to the OECD Working Group on Bribery. As a reminder, at the time of Korea’s Two Year Written Follow-up Report in 2021, the Working Group welcomed Korea’s efforts to strengthen its capacity to enforce the foreign bribery offence.
The new developments significantly narrow the Korean investigative and prosecutorial framework in place at the time of Korea’s 2018 Phase 4 evaluation. The Working Group is of the firm view that Korea should ensure that its criminal law enforcement authorities (both the Prosecution Office and the police) continue to have at their disposal the appropriate powers to effectively enforce the foreign bribery offence.
The Working Group welcomes the fact that the Government of Korea is taking actions to minimise possible negative effects of these recent legislative reforms, including by bringing the case before the Constitutional Court. The Group will insist on developments that would preserve Korea’s ability to investigate and prosecute foreign bribery cases and ensure that concerns of a political nature do not affect such investigations and prosecutions.
Korea is invited to report to each meeting of the Working Group on the implementation of the recent reforms and the adoption of the proposed further measures to guarantee Korea’s compliance with the OECD Convention.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Amelia Godber of the OECD Anti-Corruption Division or the OECD Media Division (+33 (0)1 45 24 85 75).
For more information on Korea’s work to fight corruption, please visit https://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/korea-oecdanti-briberyconvention.htm.
Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to preserve individual liberty and improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.