Money or other privileges may be given in return for political concessions, such as moderation of legislation in favour of a certain interest group or individual. The donation may be directed to a key political personality or to a political party.
The classic pattern in local government is for politicians to accept bribes for facilitating profitable building and services contracts. In France, this was encouraged by decentralization of local government in the 1980s; numerous modestly paid officials were now making decisions about huge contracts. Numerous European mayors have been charged during the last decade. An ex-mayor of Brussels is openly referred to in the Belgian press as Mr Ten Per Cent.
The difference between bribes paid to foreign politicians and bribes paid to national politicians is not unlike that between tax evasion and tax avoidance. In both cases the objective and therefore the end result is the same. The issue is not intention but declaration. If it is not declared then it is illegal. If it is then it is merely unethical. In a fair world however there is no difference and both can only be interpreted as corruption.