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Negotiating without the victim state: the exclusiveness of anticorruption settlements

Nadja Capus (Faculty of Law, Université de Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
Kei Hannah Brodersen (Faculty of Law, Université de Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 27 December 2021

Issue publication date: 30 September 2022




Corporate foreign bribery can have devastating consequences on communities and states. Over the past decade, there have been several promising developments, both national and international, that might increase the chances of victim states to receive remediation for the harm they suffered from foreign bribery. In particular, awareness has risen that victim states must be considered and new innovative items have been added to the toolbox of prosecutors in the fight against corruption that is assumed to also improve victim states’ standing in these procedures. This study aims to assess whether indeed victim states receive compensation through these novel procedures.


This study uses the three case studies of Switzerland, France and England and Wales for a comprehensive empirical and normative analysis of settlement agreements between defendants and prosecution authorities and of court jurisprudence.


This study shows that although de jure, it seems warranted to order the payment of remedies to victim states within domestic criminal proceedings, in practice, this rarely happens. A number of legal and practical obstacles account for this situation. This study, therefore, calls for the formulation of international guidelines containing the obligation to inform victim states of ongoing criminal proceedings on corporate foreign bribery, and guidance on how to identify the victim of this crime, as well as the damage caused.


This is the first contribution to verify whether claims that settlement agreements, recently introduced in England and Wales and France (and similar procedures are available in Switzerland), are beneficial for victim states in their quest to receive compensation. As this study shows that this is – not yet – the case in practice, this study proposes solutions that could lead the way for remediation of the harm caused by corporate corruption – and thereby, ultimately, to a more just outcome.



The authors thank Stefan Mbiyavanga, Melody Bozinova and Basilio Nunnari for their research assistance and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive critical reading.Funding: This research is financed by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 864498).


Capus, N. and Brodersen, K.H. (2022), "Negotiating without the victim state: the exclusiveness of anticorruption settlements", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 1249-1268.



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