What are the criminal consequences of bribery in your jurisdiction?

Bribery & Corruption

Australia Small Flag Australia

The criminal consequences of bribery in Australia are:

  • fines for an individual or corporation. These are available for the offences of domestic and foreign public bribery, domestic private bribery, or false accounting. The highest penalties are for a corporation found guilty of bribing a foreign or Commonwealth public official where the maximum fine is 100,000 penalty units (currently equal to AUD 2.1 million) or three times the value of the benefit (if it can be determined) or 10% of the annual turnover of the company during 12 months ending at the end of the month in which the conduct occurred. For false accounting offences, the maximum fine depends on whether the offence was committed recklessly or intentionally, with the penalty for intentional conduct currently being double the amount for reckless conduct; and/or
  • imprisonment of an individual for the offences of domestic and foreign public bribery, domestic private bribery, or false accounting.

Poland Small Flag Poland

For individuals, the criminal consequences of bribery may include the following penalties: limitation of liberty for a period from one month to 2 years, deprivation of liberty for a period from 6 months to 12 years, and a fine of up to PLN 1,080,000.

Additionally, the court may also impose penal measures such as: deprivation of public rights, prohibition from occupying a specific professional position, practising a specific profession, operating a specific business activity, publication of the sentence in a particular manner if this is appropriate due to the social impact of the sentence.

While imposing a penalty, the court considers the circumstances as well as the type and the extent of consequences of the offence. The penalty will be higher if the bribe was of a substantial value or was accepted in exchange for unlawful behaviour.

For corporate entities, the criminal consequences of bribery may include a fine ranging from PLN 1,000 to PLN 5,000,000. The fine may not exceed 3% of the corporate entity's revenue earned in the financial year in which the offence was committed. The court may also order the forfeiture of any object or benefit which derived from the offence. The court may also prohibit the corporate entity from carrying out promotions and advertising, benefiting from grants, subsidies or assistance from international organisations or bidding for public contracts. The court may also decide to publicise the judgment. All the above-mentioned prohibitions may be imposed for a period from one to five years.

The proposed new draft Act on Criminal Liability of Collective Entities for Punishable Offences is intended to increase the possible sanctions for corporate entities, in particular the amount of the fine will be increased up to PLN 30,000,000 (see: answer to Question 18).

Ireland Small Flag Ireland

Prevention of Corruption Act
Offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act are triable both summarily and on indictment. A person guilty of either a corruption offence or the discrete offence of corruption in office, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, is liable to a small fine or imprisonment or both. At the upper limit, a person convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act is liable for an unlimited fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.

An employer summarily convicted of an offence under the whistle-blower protection in the Prevention of Corruption Act can be fined up to €5,000 and imprisoned for up to 12 months. Upon conviction on indictment, an employer can be fined up to €250,000 and imprisoned for up to three years.

Theft and Fraud Act
Any person or official who is convicted on indictment of committing either active or passive corruption under the Theft and Fraud Act can be subject to an unlimited fine or imprisonment for a term of up to five years, or both.

An auditor who fails to report an indication of corruption under the Theft and Fraud Act to the Irish police will be guilty of an offence and will be liable on summary conviction to a fine of €2,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.

Seizure of Proceeds of Crime
The DPP can obtain an order of forfeiture of a gift or consideration under the Criminal Justice Act 1994, where a judge of the Circuit Court is satisfied that the gift or consideration is corruptly given or received. An order for forfeiture is not dependent upon criminal proceedings being brought but it must be shown that, on the balance of probabilities, the gift or consideration has been corruptly received.

Under the Prevention of Corruption Act, a member of the Irish police may seize any gift or consideration that they suspect to be a gift or consideration within the meaning of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The gift or consideration can only be detained for 48 hours unless a Circuit Court order is obtained which stipulates that an extended period of time is necessary to properly investigate the offence. A gift or consideration that is so seized may be ultimately forfeited if a Circuit Court judge is satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, the gift or consideration was given in the context of a corruption offence.

The Proceeds of Crime Acts 1996–2016 also contain wide-ranging powers for the Criminal Assets Bureau to seize the proceeds of crime. ‘Proceeds of crime’ are defined as any property obtained or received by or as a result of, or in connection with, the commission of an offence, and include the proceeds of corruption.

Brazil Small Flag Brazil

Under Brazilian laws and regulations, criminal consequences would apply exclusively to individuals, meaning that no criminal consequences would apply to corporate entities.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

An individual convicted of committing any of the general bribery offences may:

a) be imprisoned for a term of up to 10 years; and/or

b) be subject to an unlimited fine.

A company or partnership that commits any of the general bribery offences will be liable on conviction on indictment, to an unlimited fine, and to automatic and perpetual debarment from competing for public contracts.

Note that a conviction under Section 7 of the Bribery Act will attract discretionary rather than mandatory disbarment from competing for public contracts.

Where an organisation has been convicted of a bribery offence, senior officers of the organisation who have consented to or connived in the conduct can also be convicted of the offence concerned.

UAE Small Flag UAE

It varies depending on the offence and who committed the offence but can range from a fine that can be equal to the bribe or AED 5,000.00 if greater, to imprisonment of up to fifteen years. The code tends to treat the accepter of the bribe far more harshly than the person who orchestrated the bribe.

The above said, there are also fines and imprisonment for the person who orchestrated the bribe and the offender who offered the bribe.

Singapore Small Flag Singapore

Any person found guilty of an offence under the PCA may be subject to the following:

  • A fine of up to S$ 100,000;
  • Imprisonment of up to five years (for private sector offences); and/or
  • Imprisonment of up to seven years (for public sector offences).

In addition to the above, under Section 13 of the PCA, any person found guilty of receiving a bribe may also be ordered to pay a penalty equal to the amount of the bribe itself.

Penalties for corruption offences under the Penal Code can be in the form of a fine and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

China Small Flag China

There are ten different crimes regarding commercial bribery stipulated in the Criminal Law with corresponding criminal penalties for each one.

In summary, the criminal consequences include the punishment of liberty, and property deprivation. For individuals, the consequences include criminal detention or fix-term imprisonment, ranging from criminal detention to life-time imprisonment, as well as a fine, or confiscation of property. Similarly, for unit crimes, a fine would be charged against the entity itself, and the responsible person(s) of the entity would be put into criminal detention or imprisonment.

Mexico Small Flag Mexico

Pursuant to Articles 222 and 222 BIS of the CPF, the penalties for both the public official or the private person involved in the bribery, as a consequence of the criminal conduct, are:

If the bribe does not exceed an amount equivalent to 500 UMA’s (currently around USD $2,132.00), penalties will range from 3 months to 2 years of imprisonment and a fine ranging between 30 and 100 UMA’s (currently around USD $128.00 up to USD $427.00).

In the event the bribe exceeds an amount equivalent to 500 UMA’s, the penalties will range from 2 to 14 years of imprisonment and a fine of between 100 to 150 UMA’s (currently around USD $427.00 up to USD $640.00).

Greece Small Flag Greece

Passive Bribery (applicable to individuals):
The basic sanction for individuals in respect to passive bribery (the public officials) is imprisonment (maximum five years) and a fine ranging from €5,000 to €50,000. If the perpetrator is committing such acts by profession or repeatedly or the gift or benefit is of a high value, the act is a felony punishable with imprisonment for up to 10 years (minimum sentence five years) and a fine ranging from €10,000 to €100,000.

If the act is committed contrary to one’s duties, there is provision for a prison sentence up to 10 years and a fine ranging from €15,000 to €150,000 and if such acts are committed by profession or repeatedly or the gift or benefit is of a high value, the prison sentence is up 15 years and the fine ranges from €15,000 to €150,000.

Active Bribery (applicable to individuals):
The basic sanction is imprisonment (maximum five years) and a fine ranging from €5,000 to €50,000. If the bribed official acted contrary to his or her duties the perpetration is the act is a felony punishable with imprisonment for up to 10 years (minimum sentence five years) and a fine ranging from €15,000 to €150,000.

All assets and financial gains deriving from the punishable act are seized.

Liability of entities:
Entities are not prosecuted and may not be held criminally liable. Instead there are provisions for fines and other restrictions as follows:

a) a fine ranging from €50,000 to €10 million;

b) permanent suspension of business activities or temporary suspension of such for a time period of one month to two years;

c) prohibition of specific business activities (eg, establishing new branches) for a time period of one month to two years;

d) permanent or temporary ban (one month to two years) from public tenders or state funding.

The fine is always imposed. As regards the rest of the sanctions, the competent Authorities may impose all of them or some of them depending on the degree of liability of the entity, the value of the unlawful gain, the financial status of the entity and the damages caused to third parties.
The above sanctions are independent of any other sanctions that may be imposed against the entity from the competent regulatory authorities in other proceedings (e.g. administrative/disciplinary proceedings).

India Small Flag India

Criminal consequences of bribery involve imprisonment for a defined number of years depending upon the offence and the Act under which the Accused is prosecuted.

For example, under PCA a public servant found guilty of prescribed offences or any person found guilty of abetting a crime under the Act, will be subject to a prison term which may range between three and seven years (depending upon the offence committed) along with fine (as decided by the Court).

Similarly, under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the accused can be sentenced to undergo a prison term of between three and ten years along with an amount of fine which is imposed depending upon the offence committed by the accused.

In case of commission of fraud by a Company, the Companies Act provides for punishment of a prison term between six months and 10 years and a fine of up to three times the amount involved in the offence.

Angola Small Flag Angola

Crimes of corruption in the public sector
The sentences and penalties set out in the LCMLO for corruption crimes are fines and imprisonment. The LCMLO sets out cases for aggravation and special mitigation or discharge of sentences. The following table shows in detail the sentences applicable to each specific crime.

Regarding natural persons, each day of fine corresponds to an amount between AOA 1,000 and AOA 50,000, which is set by the court taking into account the economic and financial situation of the parties sentenced and their personal economic burden (Article 58 (2) LCMLO), whereas regarding legal persons, each day of a fine corresponds to an amount of AOA 10,000 and AOA 1,000,000, which is set by the court taking into account the economic and financial situation of the legal persons and their economic burden with workers (Article 45 (5) LCMLO).

 

Crime

Sentence

Rule

Crime of undue receipt of advantage

  • A civil servant who is on the passive side of a crime of undue receipt of advantage is punished with a prison sentence of 6 months to 3 years, or with a fine of up to 600 days.
  • A natural person who is on the active side of a crime of undue receipt of advantage is punished with a prison sentence of 6 months to 2 years, or with a fine of up to 360 days.
  • A legal person who is on the active side of a crime of undue receipt of advantage is punished with a fine of up to 360 days.

Articles 36(1) and (2), and 45(3) LCMLO

Passive corruption crime for unlawful act

A civil servant who is the perpetrator of a passive corruption crime for unlawful act is punished with a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years.

Article 37(1) LCMLO

Passive corruption crime for lawful act

If the act or the omission carried out by the civil servant is not contrary to his official duties and the advantage is not due to him, the civil servant is punished with a prison sentence of 6 months to 3 years.

Article 37(2) LCMLO

Active corruption crime

  • Natural person: prison sentence of 1 to 5 years.
  • Legal person: fine of 120 to 600 days.

If the act or the omission are not contrary to the official duties and the advantage is not due, the natural person is punished with a prison sentence of 6 months to 3 years. In case of legal persons, the fine may be between 60 and 360 days.

Articles 38(1) and (2), and 45(2) LCMLO

Corruption crimes in international trade

Crime

Sentence

Rule

Corruption crime in international trade

  • Natural person: prison sentence of 1 to 5 years.
  • Legal person: fine of 120 to 600 days.

Article 38(1), 42(1), and 45(2) LCMLO

Portugal Small Flag Portugal

Since there are many different types of bribery, the criminal consequences of each type vary between the each type and also according to multiple other variables:

  • Passive bribery:
    • Penal Code:
      • between 1 and 8 years in prison if the act is contrary to the bribed party’s duties;
      • between 1 and 5 years in prison if not;
      • these sanctions can be aggravated depending on the value of the bribe;
      • prohibition from holding public office or working in the public sector.
    • Law no. 34/87 (political office holders and high public officials):
      • between 2 and 8 years in prison if the act is contrary to the bribed party’s duties;
      • between 2 and 5 years in prison if not;
      • these sanctions can be aggravated depending on the value of the bribe;
      • loss of office and prohibition of holding public office or working in the public sector.
    • Military Justice Code:
      • between 2 and 10 years in prison;
      • mandatory retirement;
      • expulsion from the military.
    • Law no. 20/2008 (private sector workers):
      • up to 5 years in prison;
      • between 1 and 8 years in prison if the bribed party’s act disrupts competition or causes financial loss to a third party.
    • Law no. 50/2007 (sports agents):
      • between 1 and 8 years in prison;
      • suspension from participating in sporting events for a period between 6 months and 3 years;
      • denial of public subsidies for a period between 1 and 5 years;
      • prohibition of working as a sports agent.
  • Active bribery
    • Penal Code:
      • between 2 and 5 years in prison if the intended act is contrary to the bribed party’s duties;
      • up to 3 years in prison if not;
      • these sanctions can be aggravated depending on the value of the bribe;
      • prohibition from holding public office or working in the public sector.
    • Law no. 34/87 (political office holders and high public officials):
      • between 1 and 5 years in prison if the intended act is contrary to the bribed party’s duties;
      • up to 5 years in prison if not;
      • between 2 and 8 years in prison if the briber is a political office holder or a high public official and the act is contrary to the bribed party’s duties;
      • between 2 and 5 years in prison if the briber is a political office holder or a high public official but the intended act is not a violation of the bribed party’s duties;
      • these sanctions can be aggravated depending on the value of the bribe;
      • loss of office and prohibition of holding public office or working in the public sector.
    • Military Justice Code:
      • between 1 and 6 years in prison;
      • between 2 and 12 years in prison if the briber is a higher ranking officer than the bribed party;
      • mandatory retirement;
      • expulsion from the military.
    • Law no. 20/2008 (private sector workers):
      • between 1 and 8 years if the act is related to international commerce;
      • up to 3 years in prison or a fine;
      • up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to 600 days if the bribed party’s act disrupts competition or causes financial loss to a third party.
    • Law no. 50/2008 (sports agents):
      • between 1 and 5 years in prison;
      • suspension from participating in sporting events for a period between 6 months and 3 years;
      • denial of public subsidies for a period between 1 and 5 years;
      • prohibition of working as a sports agent.

Denmark Small Flag Denmark

A fine or imprisonment. Prison sentences are limited to maximum 6 years for bribing public officials and 4 years for bribing private persons.

Germany Small Flag Germany

A person shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding three years. In aggravated cases where a person is convicted of bribery offences in business transactions, the accused can face up to five years’ imprisonment.

Offering or receiving a bribe in relation to a public official, a European official or a person entrusted with special public service functions, may lead to a fine or imprisonment of up to five years. In aggravated cases, it may lead to imprisonment of up to ten years.
A person convicted of bribing delegates shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding five years.

Sections 30 (1), 130 of the Administrative Offences Act (Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetz), allow the imposition of a fine to a corporate entity, if the owners and management did not take appropriate measures for preventing criminal offences. The maximum fine is EUR 5 or 10 million for each criminal offence, depending on whether it was committed as a result of negligence or intentionally. However, if the company gained a financial advantage related to the criminal offence, the penalty can exceed those amounts without limitation.

Italy Small Flag Italy

Breach of the Criminal Code provisions regarding corrupting behaviours may result in the imprisonment of the defendant. With regard to the duration of the sentence that the judge may impose, the Criminal Code lays down a range between one and twelve years of imprisonment, based on the seriousness of the committed crime. In case of conviction for one of the corruption offences (even in case of plea bargaining), the judge might also order: the confiscation of the goods that constitute the price, the product or the profit of the crime, unless they belong to a person extraneous to the crime; or (in case the confiscation of the goods described above is not possible) the confiscation of goods of the offender for an amount equal to the profit of the crime.

The law also provides that the offender may incur in ancillary penalties, such as the provisional or permanent disqualification of the defendant from holding public office.

The violation of the provisions of the Civil Code regarding private bribery is punished with imprisonment from eight months to three years and might result in the provisional disqualification of the defendant from holding directive functions within companies.

Macau Small Flag Macau

MdME:

  • Crimes of corruption in the public sector

Crime

Sentence

Rule

Passive corruption crime for unlawful act

  • Prison sentence of 1 to 8 years.
  • Where the action is not carried out, a perpetrator shall be punished with a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine.
  • The punishment will not take place where the perpetrator, prior to carrying out the action, voluntarily rejects the offer or the promise that he/she accepted, or where he/she returns the advantage, or in case of fungible goods, its value.
  • The attempt is punishable.

Articles 337 and 22 PC

Passive corruption crime for lawful act

  • Prison sentence of up to two years or fine of up to 240 days.
  • The punishment will not take place where a perpetrator, prior to carrying out the action, voluntarily rejects the offer or the promise that he/she accepted, or where he/she returns the advantage, or in case of fungible goods, its value.

Articles 338 and 45(2) PC

Active corruption crime

  • Active corruption for an unlawful action (i.e. with the purpose set out in Article 337 PC): prison sentence of up to three years or a fine.
  • Active corruption for an unlawful action (i.e., with the purpose set out in Article 338 PC): prison sentence of up to six months or penalty fine of up to 60 days.

Articles 339 and 45(2) PC

 

  • Corruption crimes in the private sector

Crime

Sentence

Rule

Passive corruption crime

  • Prison sentence of up to 1 year or fine.
  • Where the action or omission provided in Article 3(1) of Law no. 19/2009 gives rise to unfair competition, a perpetrator shall be punished with a prison sentence of up to two years or a fine.
  • Where the action or omission provided in Article 3(1) of Law no. 19/2009 gives rise to damages to the health or safety of third parties, a perpetrator shall be punished with a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine.
  • The punishment will not take place where a perpetrator, prior to carrying out the action, voluntarily rejects the offer or the promise that he/she accepted, or where he/she returns the advantage, or in case of fungible goods, its value.

Article 3 of Law no. 19/2009

Active corruption crime

  • Prison sentence of up to 6 months or a fine.
  • Where the conduct provided in Article 4(1) of Law no. 19/2009 gives rise to unfair competition, a perpetrator shall be punished with a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.
  • Where the action or omission provided in Article 3(1) of Law no. 19/2009 gives rise to damages to the health or safety of third parties, a perpetrator shall be punished with a prison sentence of up to two years or a fine.

Article 4 of Law no. 19/2009

 

  • Active corruption crime in foreign trade

Crime

Sentence

Rule

Active corruption crime within the scope of foreign trade

  • Natural person: prison sentence of up to 3 years or a fine.
  • Legal person: (i)fine of up to a maximum of 10 000 000 MOP; (ii) judicial winding-up; and(iii)additional penalties (such as a practice ban for a period of 1 to 10 years and the establishment’s closure for a period of 1 month to 1 year.

Articles 4 and 5 of Law no. 10/2014

Mozambique Small Flag Mozambique

HRA: The criminal consequences provided for the crime of bribery are the application of fines and imprisonment.
The perpetrators of corruption offenses are also subject to the following accessory measures:

  1. Loss, in favour of the State, of assets or amounts unlawfully received or accrued to his property or interposed person, in the case of crimes committed by public servants; and
  2. Inhibition of contracting with the State or with public companies or to receive tax or credit benefits or incentives for 10 years from the date of the conviction.

Japan Small Flag Japan

The penalties for conduct which violates anti-bribery laws are different depending on the type of offences. These include:

A natural person convicted of the offence of giving, offering or promising to give a bribe to a Japanese public official is subject to a penalty of up to three years imprisonment, or a fine of up to JPY 2.5 million.

A Japanese public official convicted of the offence of accepting, soliciting or promising to accept a bribe in connection with their duties is subject to a penalty of up to five years imprisonment.

Under the UCPA, a natural person convicted of the offence of bribing a foreign official is subject to a penalty of up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to JPY 5 million, or both.

Under the UCPA, a company or corporation is subject to a penalty of a fine of up to JPY 300 million where an employee, agent, officer or director of a company or organisation breaches the anti-bribery provisions of the UCPA in connection with the corporation's business.

France Small Flag France

The main penalties incurred by parties to an active or passive corruption pact is ten years' imprisonment and a fine of €1,000,000, the amount of which may be increased to twice the proceeds of the offence. In the case of corruption involving a magistrate, the penalty may be increased to 15 years' imprisonment. In the case of legal persons, the fine is multiplied by 5.

In addition to the main penalties and the complementary penalties for bribery offences, the ineligibility penalty can be imposed for a maximum of ten years against any member of the Government or any elected official.

In order to increase the effectiveness of the French justice system in the fight against bribery, the Sapin II Act has introduced a new settlement procedure i.e. the ‘Judicial Convention in Public Interest’ (CJP).

Article 41-1-2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows the public prosecutor to enter into an agreement with a legal person implicated or indicted for bribery, influence peddling, tax fraud laundering or related offences. The Sapin II law limits the maximum amount of the fine that may be imposed on a CJIP signatory company to 30% of its average annual turnover calculated over the last three financial years

Switzerland Small Flag Switzerland

In cases of bribery of (Swiss or foreign) public officials, individuals can be sentenced to a prison term of up to five years or a monetary penalty of up to CHF 540,000. For commercial bribery, the maximum sanctions are a prison term of up to three years or a monetary penalty of up to CHF 540,000. Companies may be sanctioned with a maximum fine of CHF 5 million.

Additionally, the law provides for the disgorgement of profits generated in connection with the bribery offence.

United States Small Flag United States

Criminal consequences for FCPA violations include the imposition of a fine of up to $2 million per violation of the anti-bribery provisions for corporations and other business entities and up to $250,000 for officers, directors, stockholders, employees and agents of such entities. 15 USC section 78ff; 18 USC section 3571(b)(3). In practice, fines are often higher because the Alternative Fines Act, 18 USC section 3571(d), provides for imposition of fines at, among other levels, twice the amount of the gross pecuniary gain or loss associated with the criminal violation.

Individuals may face up to five years’ imprisonment per violation. 15 USC section 78ff.
A corporate violator of the FCPA may face collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, such as debarment. In addition, corporate entities are routinely required to improve and enhance their compliance programs, cooperate in on-going government investigations and disclose any additional credible allegations of bribery. In some cases, corporate entities are also required to retain an independent compliance monitor.

Corporate entities may be able to reduce their penalties or receive a declination by fully cooperating with the DOJ, which involves, among other things, self-disclosing the violation to the DOJ; engaging in timely and appropriate remediation; timely disclosing to the DOJ all relevant facts concerning the violation; timely preserving, collecting and disclosing relevant documents and making relevant individuals available for interviews by the DOJ. The DOJ formalized this approach to FCPA enforcement in the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy in November 2017, which began as a pilot program in April 2016.

Updated: June 11, 2018