The OECD criticised France on Tuesday for meagre efforts to crack down on businesses bribing foreign officials, accusing it of a lacklustre response to cases of corruption by French companies discovered abroad.
An OECD working group said it "is seriously concerned that despite the very significant role of French companies in the international economy, only 33 foreign bribery proceedings have been initiated" since France joined the international convention against bribing foreign officials in 2000.
The OECD working group said it "is particularly concerned by the lacklustre response of the French authorities in relation to companies sanctioned by other" countries under the anti-bribery convention.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which provides analysis and policy guidance for 34 industrialised countries, praised efforts by France to tighten anti-corruption legislation but concluded that currently they were not effective.
"The applied and available penalties, along with the lack of any recourse to measures to confiscate the proceeds of corruption do not appear to be effective, proportionate or dissuasive," the working group concluded.
It criticised French insistence on pursuing only cases which are considered crimes in the countries concerned.
It also critised France for not enabling victims of corruption from outside the EU to initiate civil or criminal proceedings.
The OECD working group also expressed concern about about lack of adequate resources for investigations.
While it praised efforts to increase the independence of prosecutors, it urged that more be done to ensure they do not come under political influence.
The OECD working group noted that the 33 corruption cases launched by France to date have resulted in only five convictions, and that only one of those was against a company and was still not final.
Of the three definitive convictions, it noted concerned minor cases of bribery, fines were small and only suspended jail terms were handed down.
Moreover, it said "these cases did not undergo in-depth investigations that might have revealed more complex evidence involving (companies) linked to the convicted individuals."
The OECD working group called for confiscating any gains from corruption and banning convicted companies and individuals from winning public contracts.