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Below are links to the texts of international anti-bribery conventions as well as the anti-bribery legislation of a number of countries. This information was accurate as of 1 December 2014 or as indicated. It is provided as a convenience and should not be relied on as legal advice.
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The Argentine Criminal Code (ACC) is the main regulation that governs and punishes behaviors related to bribery and corruption.
Section 256 of the ACC sets forth that any public official who, personally or by means of an intermediary, receives money or any other gift or, directly or indirectly accepts promise of such benefit in order to carry out, delay, or not to do something in relation to his or her duties shall be punished with imprisonment of one to six years and disqualification from public office for life.
Section 256bis of the ACC sets forth that any public official who, personally or through an intermediary, requests or receives money or any other gift or directly or indirectly accepts promise of such in order to make unlawful use of his or her influence before a public official, with the purpose of having such official do, delay, or not do something in relation to his or her duties, shall be punished with imprisonment of one to six years and special disqualification from holding public office for life.
The second paragraph of this Section 256bis sets forth that if this conduct is intended to make unlawful use of any influence before a magistrate of the Judicial Branch or the Attorney General Office (AGO), with the purpose of having such magistrate issue, decree, delay, or omit any resolution, sentence, or judgment concerning any matter under his or her jurisdiction, the maximum term of imprisonment shall be increased to twelve years.
Section 258 of the ACC sets forth that any person who personally or through an intermediary gives or offers any gift for the purpose of obtaining any of the conducts punished by Sections 256 and 256bis shall be punished with a prison sentence ranging from one to six years.
If the gift is given or offered with the purpose of obtaining any of the conduct described in Sections 256bis second paragraph and 257, the punishment shall be prison of two to six years. If the perpetrator is a public official, special disqualification from public office lasting two to six years shall also be imposed in the first case and lasting three to ten years in the second case.In this sense, facilitating payments are also considered bribery under de ACC.
Section 257 of the ACC sets forth a punishment to any magistrate from the Judicial Branch or the AGO who personally or through an intermediary, receives money or any other gift, or directly or indirectly accepts promise of such in order to issue, decree, delay, or omit any resolution, sentence or judgment concerning any matters under his or her jurisdiction. In such case, the defendant shall be punished with imprisonment of four to twelve years and total disqualification from public office for life.
Law 25,188 (Public Ethic Law) forbids public officers from receiving gifts, donations, benefits or gratuities, services or goods “as a result of their work in the performance of their public duties”. However, the prohibition does not apply to “courtesy gifts” and “gifts offered as diplomatic practice”. In this regard, Decree 41/1999 provides the Code of Ethics for Public Officials of the National Executive Branch and Decree 1179/16 sets forth a registry for those gifts and the applicable proceedings. Additionally, there are provincial regulations regarding gifts and interactions with provincial and local public officials.
In addition, the General Regime for Public Procurement and its Regulation (approved by means of Decree 1023/2001 and Decree 1030/2016, respectively) establish that certain persons cannot enter into contracts with the public administration. These include, among others: (i) bidders who have been convicted for the commission of intentional crimes are disqualified for a period equal to twice the length of the sentence imposed for their crimes; (ii) companies that have been convicted abroad of bribery or transnational bribery practices under the terms of the OECD Convention will not be eligible for a period equal to twice the sentence; (iii) individuals or legal entities that were included in the lists of debarred persons of the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank, as a result of corrupt practices referred to in the OECD Convention will not be eligible while such condition continues to exist.
Bribery between private individuals is not a criminal offence in Argentina. The only offence equivalent to private bribery the ACC considers is that of Section 312 ACC which establishes criminal penalties for the employees of financial entities and entities operating in the stock exchange that take bribes in order to perform a financial, credit or stock-trading related transaction.
Section 258bis ACC sets forth that any person can be punished with imprisonment from one two six years and special disqualification for life from the exercise of any public office if that person offers or gives a public official from a foreign state or from an international public organization, personally or through an intermediary, money or any object of pecuniary value or other benefits such as gifts, favors, promises or benefits, for: (i) that person's own benefit or for the benefit of a third party or (ii) the purpose of having that official do or not do an act related to his office or to use the influence derived from the office he holds in an economic, financial or commercial transaction.
“Foreign public official” is defined in Section 258bis as any person designated or elected to perform a public function, in any level or territorial division of government, or class of body, agency or public company in which the foreign state exercises a direct or indirect influence.
Additionally, a fine of up to ARS 90,000 can be imposed where an offence is committed “with the aim of monetary gain” (Section 22bis of the ACC). This provision applies both to domestic and foreign bribery. Furthermore, there are also civil and administrative liabilities regarding breaches of foreign and domestic bribery laws.
Section 1 of Argentina’s Criminal Code (ACC) establishes the territoriality principle. That is to say, ACC applies to “offences committed or whose effects occur in Argentine territory or in places subject to Argentine jurisdiction”. Even so, Section 1 also establishes that ACC applies to “offences committed abroad by agents or employers of Argentine authorities while performing their duties”.
In the need to adequate Argentina’s legislation to international anti-corruption standards, ACC’s extraterritorial reach was expanded by Law 27,401 on Corporate Criminal Liability, which entered into force in March 2018. This Law amended Section 1, establishing that ACC also applies to the “offence provided in Section 258bis [transnational bribery] committed abroad by Argentine citizens or by legal entities domiciled in Argentina, including both the address established in its bylaws and that of its establishments or branches in Argentine territory”. This means that both Argentine citizens and legal entities can be criminally liable for bribing a public official from a foreign state or from an international public organization, personally or through an intermediary, even when abroad.
This amendment to the ACC made by Law 27,401 was consequence of OECD’s requirements in the ongoing process of accepting Argentina as Member.
Argentina has also commitments as party to several multilateral, regional and bilateral treaties against corruption, such as the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Among other commitments, these treaties enhance cooperation with other jurisdictions to prevent, investigate and judge crimes of corruption, including agreements on asset-recovery.
Also regarding international cooperation, Law 24,767 on International Cooperation in Criminal Matters can be subsidiary applied when no treaty exist with another country. In addition, local prosecutors have the power to sign cooperation agreements with foreign Public Ministries concerning specific cases.
Argentina is signatory of the following international anti-corruption conventions:
Maximiliano N. D’Auro, partner at Beccar Varela, Argentina, July 2020
Australia’s domestic and foreign anti-bribery offences are split between Commonwealth and State (and Territory) criminal laws. The foreign bribery offence is contained in the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Commonwealth) (the ‘Code’) together with domestic bribery offences concerning the Commonwealth. State bribery offences, including offences for commercial bribery, are contained in State (and Territory) criminal laws (for example, the Crimes Act 1900 (New South Wales) (‘NSW Crimes Act’). This summary focuses on Commonwealth laws, with illustrative references to the laws of New South Wales (NSW) (as many state laws are similar).
The Code offences reflect, in Australian law, the objects of various international instruments including:
Key provisions of the Commonwealth anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws are as follows:
Last updated by Robert Wyld, Angus Hannam and Louise Dinne, Johnson Winter & Slattery, Sydney, July 2020.
Federal Act of 23 January 1974 as amended(Criminal Code - StGB)
StF: Gazette. No. 60/1974
Corruption of public officials is subject to criminal sanctions under Belgian law. Both active and passive corruption can be punished. Under Belgian law, the notion of a public official is very broad. There is no minimum threshold regarding corruption. Facilitation payments are not permitted under Belgian law. Both legal entities and persons can be convicted for corruption. Companies that have been convicted for corruption will be excluded from public procurement contracts, including ongoing contracts. Apart from criminal law, public officials can be subject to a code of conduct (depending on the public authority they belong to). In general, it is advisable to refrain from giving or offering anything to public officials, especially public servants and judges.
Art. 246-253 of the Belgian Criminal Code:
Last updated by William Timmermans, ALTIUS, Brussels, Belgium, January 2017
Bolivia’s 2009 Constitution establishes a duty of all citizens to denounce acts of corruption and provides for the retroactive application of the law for corruption crimes committed by public officials.
In addition, the 2010 anti-corruption law, Law No. 004 on the Fight against Corruption, Illicit Enrichment and Investigation of Wealth (Law 004) generally prohibits public sector corruption. Law 004 and the Criminal Code criminalise acts such as: (1) money laundering; (2) active and passive bribery; (3) transnational bribery; (4) embezzlement; (5) influence peddling; and (6) illicit enrichment, including illicit enrichment by private persons and entities that affects the state. Elements of abuse of public functions are also criminalised. The violation of these provisions could result on fines or prison for up to ten years.
The Vice-ministry of Institutional Transparency and Fight against Corruption, the Ministry of Government, the Comptroller-General’s Office, the State Prosecutor’s Office, the Bolivian Police, the Attorney General’s Office and the Financial Investigation Unit are formally established as the entities in charge of the fight against corruption. Law 004 also created the National Counsel against Corruption, Illicit Enrichment and Legitimation of Illicit Proceeds, as well as an integrated system for the centralisation and exchange of information between the entities related to the fight against corruption.
Law 004 requires the entities or persons that provide the following services to report to the Financial Investigation Unit (UIF), when, in the exercise of their functions, they detect the possible commission of acts of corruption:
The subjects and entities that provide the services described above are also obligated to provide information requested by the UIF during an investigation process related to the corruption crime.
In 2017, Law No. 974 of Transparency Units regulated the operation of the Transparency Units that are present in all public institutions, in coordination with the Ministry of Justice and Institutional Transparency. It also establishes a system that compiles information from the transparency units and administrative and judicial procedures of possible corruption acts.
The main regulators that are in charge of the enforcement of the described provisions are:
At the international level, Bolivia is part of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UN Convention) and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (OAS Convention).
Last updated by Lindsay Sykes, PPO Abogados, Bolivia - July 2020
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) domestic anti-corruption legal framework is primarily based on the provisions of the Criminal Code. There are four criminal codes in BiH used at different levels of government (state level, Federation of BiH, RS and BD), which cover general forms of corruption, including active and passive bribery, concealment, embezzlement and misappropriation, attempted corruption, extortion, active and passive bribery, accepting or demanding gifts, the bribery of foreign officials, embezzlement and abuse of office. The Code also contains provisions on liability of legal persons for criminal offences. The main legislation defining BiH’s anti-money laundering regime includes the Law on Preventing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, criminal codes of BiH, criminal procedures code and the laws on banks. Government officials are subject to the Law on civil service in the institutions of BiH and codes of conduct for civil servants and rules on incompatibility of office. The government has adopted a new anti-corruption strategy and action plan for the years 2015-2019. Law on whistleblower protection in the institutions of BiH provide for the protection of whistleblowers.
Other relevant laws are the Law on conflict of interest in the governmental institutions of BiH, and the Law on political party financing.
BiH has signed and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption and is party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.
The Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and Coordination of the Fight against Corruption ('Official Gazette of BiH' No. 103/09) is an independent and autonomous administrative organisation, which is accountable for its work to the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH.
The Agency is responsible for the prevention of corruption and coordination of the fight against corruption in public and private sector institutions in:
The Special Department of the Prosecutors office for Organized Crime, Economic Crime and Corruption (Special Section II) was established by the establishment of the Prosecutor's Office of BiH in 2003, when the department consisted exclusively of international prosecutors authorized in accordance with the then amendments to the Law on Prosecutors office of BiH.
Since the end of 2010, this Department has been composed entirely of domestic prosecutors, and since 2011, fully domestic employees have been working in the Department.
Special Section II is responsible for prosecuting perpetrators of organised crime, economic crime and corruption, in accordance with the laws of BiH, as well as prosecuting terrorism and illegal affiliation of BiH citizens to foreign paramilitary or parapolice formations, in accordance with the amendments to the Criminal Code. From June 2014, joining foreign formations and participating in foreign battlefields has been prescribed as a criminal offense for BiH citizens.
The competence of Special Section II also includes criminal offences of corruption related to employees of the institutions of BiH, criminal offences of economic and financial crime, including tax evasion, smuggling, customs fraud and money laundering, and criminal offences of organised crime, including but not limited to acts of international drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings and similar criminal offences prescribed by the Criminal Code of BiH.
The State Investigation of Protection Agency, Financial-Intelligence Department, performs the tasks related to prevention, investigation and detection of money laundering, and funding of terrorist activities, promotion of cooperation between competent bodies of the BiH: Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Republika Srpska; and the BiH Brcko District, in the area of prevention of money laundering and funding of terrorist activities, as well as the promotion of cooperation and exchange of information with competent bodies of other states and international organisations in charge for prevention of money laundering and funding of terrorist activities.
Last updated by Tomislav Šunjka and Jelena Bajin, ŠunjkaLaw, July 2020
In Brazil, bribing government officials can result in criminal, civil and administrative enforcement. Therefore, one single act may lead to different enforcement actions brought by different authorities.
At the criminal level (which in Brazil applies exclusively to individuals, not legal entities, regardless of their form of incorporation), the Brazilian Criminal Code sanctions bribery of national and foreign public officials with jail time and pecuniary fines. At the civil/administrative level, The Public Probity Act sets forth civil liability for those engaging in corrupt practices to the detriment of the Brazilian public entities.
However, it was the recent Clean Company Act, enacted in 2013 and regulated in federal sphere in 2015, which introduced a strict liability for corporations engaging in corrupt practices with domestic or foreign public officials. Additionally, in cases of companies contracting with public entities, other statutes may be applicable, such as the Public Tender Act.
It is also relevant to note that Brazil is a signatory of the main international anti-corruption Conventions (OAS Inter-American Convention, OECD Convention and UN Convention).
Last updated by Fabiola C L Cammarota de Abreu, Souza, Cescon, Barrieu & Flesch Advogados, Brazil 2017
Cambodia's Anti-Corruption Law defines corruption as including specific corruption-related criminal offences found in the Criminal Code, which holds the main body of offences, and provides a few additional offenses.
The Cambodian Criminal Code states that offering, accepting, or soliciting a bribe is punishable. Offering, accepting, or soliciting any gift, present, or promise of a benefit to a government official or corporate recipient, or providing this recipient with any other benefit to induce that person to perform or abstain from performing his or her duty, is seen as a corruption offence. This is the general definition, with aggravating circumstances depending on the positions of the intended bribe receiver or solicitor.
The Criminal Code also criminalizes improper biddings, money laundering, embezzlement, favouritism, extortion, and facilitation payments.
The additional corruption offences prescribed in the Anti-Corruption Law are abuse of power by public servants or citizens that hold public office through election, illicit enrichment, corruption-proceeds offences, and petty corruption offences.
All corruption-related offences require a benefit for the intended receiver or solicitor of the bribe. Benefits are defined differently per applicable law, but in general, they include monetary and non-monetary benefits, for example giving or promising jobs, contracts, payments, gifts, services, and opting not to perform services.
Cambodia’s anti-corruption regulations cover both the public and private sector, and therefore include commercial bribery between private entities. Corrupting any private employee or public official is considered an offence and is punishable. The position of the intended receiver or solicitor of the bribe determines the applicable punishment regime. For example, corrupting a judge or a company’s director leads to higher minimum punishment.
The main bodies tasked with the implementation and prosecution of anti-corruption law in Cambodia are the national Anti-Corruption Unit and regional police forces. Although enforcement of anti-corruption law is slowly improving, enforcement remains a rarity and corruption is widespread.
In Canada, domestic bribery is prohibited by the Criminal Code. The core offence is contained in section 121(1)(a), which makes it an offence for a person to, directly or indirectly, give, offer or agree to give to an official or to a member of his family, or to anyone for the benefit of the official, or for an official to demand accept or offer or agree to accept, a loan, reward advantage or benefit of any kind as consideration for cooperation, assistance, exercise of influence or an act or omission in connection with any matter of business with the government. In addition to the core offence, there are a variety of offences that depend on the office held by the official Criminal Code of Canada, s. 119 (Corruption and Disobedience), 120 (bribery of officers), 121 (fraud on the government), 123 (municipal corruption), 124 (selling or purchasing office), 125 (influencing or negotiating appointments or dealing in offices) & 426 (secret commissions)
Thanks to its wide scope, Section 426 can cover any act not covered by sections 119 to 125. There is no mention of the office held and the article is aimed at any employee who accepts or solicits a reward, advantage or benefit of any kind for doing or not doing or having done or not done any act relating to the affairs of his employer. This acceptation or solicitation must be done corruptly, i.e. in secret and without knowledge by the employer.
Foreign bribery is prohibited by the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (S.C. 1998, c. 34) (CFPOA), which came into force in February 1999. Under the CFPOA, “every person commits an offence who, in order to obtain or retain an advantage in the course of business, directly or indirectly gives, offers or agrees to give or offer a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind to a foreign public official or to any person for the benefit of a foreign public official
(a) as consideration for an act or omission by the official in connection with the performance of the official’s duties or functions; or
(b) to induce the official to use his or her position to influence any acts or decisions of the foreign state or public international organization for which the official performs duties or functions.”
Last updated by Elisabeth Danon, Senior Adviser at KPMG, Canada
The Cayman Islands’ Anti-Corruption Law (2016 Revision) (the “Law”) came into force on 1 January 2010 with the intent of giving effect to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
The Law establishes an independent Anti-Corruption Commission (the “Commission”) appointed by the Governor (in turn appointed by the United Kingdom) that is responsible for investigating suspected offences under the Law. Commission investigators have powers broadly similar to those of the police. Actual prosecutions are conducted by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Law replaces the more limited provisions relating to corruption and bribery which previously existed under the Penal Code. It provides for a broad range of corruption offences by individuals and companies including bribery (of both domestic and foreign officials); fraud on the government; breach of trust; abuses of public or elected office; undisclosed conflicts of interest; and secret commissions. There is a limited exception for overseas facilitation payments. There are also the usual inchoate offences (conspiracy, aiding and abetting, etc.) and ancillary offences for failure to report an offence. Protections are included for informants and agent provocateurs.
Offences are extraditable. Offences fall under the Law if committed outside the Cayman Islands by Caymanians, residents of the Cayman Islands and Cayman Islands companies, or on board Cayman registered planes or vessels.
Punishment on conviction ranges from 2 to 14 years imprisonment depending on the offence.
The Commission may assist overseas anti-corruption agencies in the investigation of corruption, including (with the court’s approval) the temporary freezing of assets.
With one limited exception (contractors subscribing to election funds to secure government contracts), election offences fall under the Elections Law (2013 Revision) and are handled by the police.
Although not a matter of Cayman Islands law, it is noted that certain provisions of the United Kingdom Bribery Act 2010, which came into force in July 2011, have extraterritorial effect in so far as they apply to citizens of British Overseas Territories, including the Cayman Islands.
More information about the Anti-Corruption Commission can be accessed on its website at www.anticorruptioncommission.ky.
Last updated by Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commission, September 2017.
Bribery in connection with domestic and foreign government officials is considered a criminal offence under Chilean law and is regulated in the Criminal Code.
Such conducts are also prohibited under laws which regulate the activity of domestic public officials and are considered infringements of the probity and impartiality principles to which public officials are subject, which provide administrative sanctions for such conducts.
In general, corporations cannot be criminally liable for offenses under the Criminal Code in Chile. However, the Law on Criminal Liability of Corporations includes an exception in the case of corruption, and allows corporations to be liable for the bribery of local or foreign public officials if the act was done in the corporation’s own interest by the corporation’s owners, representatives, executives or employees who have proper authority in carrying out the business.
Commercial bribery is not considered a crime under Chilean law. However, there is currently a bill being discussed in Congress which aims to regulate and punish such conduct.
Last updated by Daniel Praetorius, partner, Bofill Escobar Abogados, Santiago de Chile, Chile
Criminal sanctions against corruption and bribery are prescribed by thePRC Criminal Law. According to the different capacity of the counterpart of bribery, the crime of corruption under the PRC Criminal Law can be broadly classified into two different categories, State functionary corruption and non-State functionary corruption.The conviction and sentencing of the two categories are different.
The Criminal sanctions against State functionary corruption
The crimes concerning State functionary (including State-owned entities)1 corruption include the crimes of offering bribes to a State functionary and the crimes of acceptance of bribes by a State functionary. In such kinds of crimes, the party accepting bribes is a State functionary.
Pursuant to Article 93 of the PRC Criminal Law,State functionaries refer to persons who perform public service in State organs, including (i) persons who perform