Transnational corporate bribery is complexly organised at a multijurisdictional level. However, enforcement remains at the local, national level where investigators and prosecutors are pressured to respond using frameworks for enforcement created by intergovernmental organisations. These legal frameworks are incorporated into national laws which results in legal convergence between jurisdictions but the ‘functional equivalence’ approach of intergovernmental organisations enables divergence in enforcement practices.
This article analyses two theoretically comparable anti-corruption enforcement systems, those of the UK and Germany, to evidence an understanding of policy responses at the operational level. Irrespective of the enforcement system implemented (centralised or decentralised, use of corporate criminal liability or not, amongst other dimensions), enforcement faces significant structural, legal, procedural, evidential and financial obstacles, even where will to enforce the law is high. Consequently, criminal law enforcement is currently implausible.