Bribe fines not going to developing countries

Penalties in international corruption cases are rarely paid to the country where the crimes took place, the World Bank and United Nations said Wednesday.

A report found that most corruption cases occur in developing countries, but enforcement largely takes place in wealthier countries where "the corrupt companies (and related individual defendants) are headquartered or otherwise operate."

The report reviewed 395 settlements between 1999 and 2012 that raised $6.9 billion in monetary sanctions.

Nearly $6 billion of this sum resulted from sanctions in a country other than the one that employed the bribed or allegedly bribed official.

And of this portion of the sanctions, only about $197 million, or 3.3 percent, was returned to where officials were bribed or allegedly bribed.

"The reality is that, in the majority of the settlements, the countries whose officials were allegedly bribed have not been involved in the settlements, and have not found any other means to obtain redress," the report said.

But it pointed to some exceptions. In one case involving weapons and aerospace manufacturer BAE Systems, British and US regulators reached separate settlements following corruption probes.

The British settlement included a 29.5 million pound ($48 million) payment to Tanzania, while the US took fines and penalties totaling $479 million.

Among the recommendations, the report said countries undertaking corruption investigations should inform affected countries of their legal avenues to recover assets.

The report was authored by a joint program between the World Bank and the UN dedicated to preventing the laundering of the proceeds of corruption and to facilitate the return of stolen assets.