Corruption affects all regions of the world and all levels of society, but the impact is greatest in developing countries. Every year, developing countries lose USD 50 million to 100 million through corrupt acts (World Bank estimate, 2004).
Corruption undermines political, social and economic stability and damages trust in institutions and authorities. It also fuels transnational crime. Terrorists and organized criminals are aided in their illegal activities by the complicity of corrupt public officials. Corruption is of particular concern for the world’s police and judicial systems, as corruption in one country can compromise an entire international investigation.
There is clear recognition by the international community that further work to enhance cooperation between law enforcement authorities is needed in order to coordinate global action against corruption.
What INTERPOL does
At INTERPOL, we are involved in a growing number of projects and partnerships as we develop our capabilities in the fight against corruption worldwide. We are focusing increasingly on providing operational support to our member countries.
Three major projects define our strategy:
- International asset recovery: We are developing initiatives to assist law enforcement bodies in returning stolen public funds to victim countries. The Global Focal Point Initiative, supported by INTERPOL and StAR, is a key tool in this area, allowing designated officers around the world to exchange information and better coordinate their investigations.
- Corruption Response Teams (CRTs) provide targeted operational support to countries that request it, through a rapidly deployable team of INTERPOL experts in order to support ongoing corruption-related investigations in the field.
- The INTERPOL Group of Experts on Corruption (IGEC) develops and implements new initiatives to strengthen the law enforcement response in the fight against corruption. A multi-disciplinary group with members from all regions of the world, it coordinates and harmonizes different national and regional approaches to corruption.
- Integrity in Sport develops and implements global anti-corruption training, education and prevention programmes with a focus on regular and irregular betting as well as match-fixing. The objective is to improve key individual’s awareness of the issues, the strategies used by its perpetrators and the methods to detect and counteract them.
We recognize that the complexities of international corruption require a multi-sector and cross-border response. As such, we work closely with a number of partners to fight corruption globally. Activities include promoting the exchange of information, establishing best practices and providing training to officers around the globe. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) sets out an international framework invaluable in the fight against corruption and serves as a guide to many of our initiatives.
Our international partners include, among others:
- The World Bank;
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime;
- US Department of State;
- United Nations Development Programme;
- Basel Institute on Governance.
As part of our projects and partnerships, we take part in and organize a number of corruption-related events, such as conferences, meetings and training workshops, involving our partners, contact points, member countries, prosecutors and investigators.
What is corruption?
"Corruption is any course of action or failure to act by individuals or organizations, public or private, in violation of law or trust for profit or gain."
Definition of corruption by INTERPOL experts