The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has called on countries to work together closely to tackle international bribery.

In the first update to the guidance it published in 2009, the OECD - which has 38 member countries - has highlighted the need for nations to work together more on investigations and improve the sharing of evidence.

The OECD's first new anti-corruption standards in over a decade emphasise the value of setting up joint investigation teams as early as possible so that a number of countries can take co-ordinated and concerted action against those involved in cross-border corruption.

It wants mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) requests used to boost information sharing, and states that countries should make sure their agencies have adequate numbers of staff with the relevant expertise to ensure such requests are processed swiftly.

They should also, the OECD says, look to share personnel and experts where this would be beneficial, and cooperate more with international governmental organisations including multilateral development banks. The OECD also wants countries to raise awareness among companies and individuals about the risks of conducting business with public officials in high-risk countries.

The OECD update is very welcome, especially in the current, pandemic-affected environment, which can be viewed as a perfect storm for fraud. While greater cooperation between countries when running cross-border investigations and more sharing of evidence will be welcome, there will continue to be restrictions on national law enforcement agencies' abilities to do just that.

But just last year, the success that can be achieved via cross-border cooperation was illustrated when the UK, France and the US worked together on the Airbus case, which saw the company reach a $3.9 billion global settlement.

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