Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Korea reaches out to explain and share anti-corruption policies

May 2015

South Korea is reaching out to other countries both to explain its own anti-corruption policies, and to enlist support in enforcing these. Talks also include areas of co-operation and the co-ordination of international efforts.

The head of Korea’s anti-corruption agency, the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission (ACRC), recently met business leaders in the UK to discuss implementing measures to eradicate corruption in the corporate sector at the Korea-UK Anti-Corruption Seminar.

The seminar brought together the Korean business community in London and UK companies doing business with or investing in Korea. Experts from the Ministry of Justice, the British Standards Institution, and ACRC officials spoke at the event.

The key themes dealt with were Korea’s new anti-graft act and whistle blower protection systems, the UK Bribery Act and BS 10500 Anti-Bribery Management systems.

The seminar was part of a Korea-UK anti-corruption project that the ACRC has been implementing in cooperation with the U.K. government since April 2014.

The ACRC is also working on the enactment of the ministerial code of conduct for Korea and is studying the workings of the Ministerial Code that the British government has been implementing since 1992.

According to the ACRC, the legal framework to fight corruption is getting stronger in both Korea and the U.K. Risks of corruption are increasing, and can lead to substantial legal liabilities and damage to the corporate reputations.

The ACRC also held meetings in Paris and, at the invitation of the OECD Secretary General, took part in an OECD Forum, explaining the impact of Korea’s new law, “The Act on the Prohibition of Improper Solicitations and the Offer and Acceptance of Money, Gifts, etc.”

Some 200 delegates from 90 nations, including non-OECD member states such as Brazil and Peru, attended the forum at the OECD Conference Centre under the theme “Curbing Corruption - Investing in Growth.”

Korea’s new anti-corruption law comes into force in October 2016. The legislation sets a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison as well as KRW 30 million in fines for bribery involving public officials.

The law criminally penalizes officials for receiving money or favours worth more than KRW 1 million, even if unrelated to his or her position.

It also eliminates the need to prove a direct link between a gift and a favour that followed. The need for such proof has led to the collapse of many prosecutions in the past.

Asia | Corruption

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