Russian officials told bribes are not tax deductible

Russia's Finance Ministry has told foreign officials that bribes paid while abroad are not tax deductible, according to reports.

“Expenses incurred while committing legal violations, including providing bribes or kickbacks, are not recognized for the purposes of tax assessment,” the Ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

Any official paying bribes will therefore have to pay the standard 20pc income tax, according to Russia's Vedomosti newspaper.

The clarification is relevant for for Russian arms exporters and commodity companies that have assets in the Third World, the paper cited tax officials as saying.

Last year a survey conducted by anti-corruption group Transparency International revealed that companies from Russia and China are most likely to pay bribes when doing business abroad.

Russia joined the Anti-Bribery Convention in February and officially became the 39th signatory in April, according to the OECD’s website.

The convention "requires that the 39 states parties criminalise the bribery of foreign public officials to obtain advantages in international business, and subject companies and individuals who engage in such bribery to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions".