More stringent criminal and administrative liability for bribery.

01.06.2011

Legal Update No. 239.
 
Goltsblat BLP advises that Federal Law No. 97-FZ dated 4 May 2011 “On amendments to the Russian Criminal Code and the Сode of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation for improving state administration in the field of combating corruption” (the Federal Law) came into force on 17 May 2011.  

Its essence is as follows:

  • Сriminal liability is established for bribery mediation (Article 2911 of the Russian Criminal Code), i.e., for actually giving a bribe on the instructions of the bribe-giver or the bribe-taker or providing other assistance to these persons in reaching or implementing an agreement on receiving or giving a considerable, large or especially large bribe. The maximum penalty for bribery mediation is up to 12 years’ imprisonment and a fine 70 times the amount of the bribe.
  • Criminal liability has been introduced for promising or offering bribery mediation (part 5 Article 2911 of the Russian Criminal Code), this entailing a penalty of up to 7 years’ imprisonment and a penalty of 60 times the amount of the bribe.
  • Foreign officials and officials of the public international organisations are held criminally liable for giving and receiving bribes in the usual manner. In this case, a foreign official means any appointed or elected person holding any office in a legislative, executive, administrative or judicial body of a foreign state or any person exercising a public function for a foreign country, including for a public agency or public enterprise; an official of a public international organisation means an international civil employee or any person authorised by such an organisation to act on its behalf.
  • The limitation period for imposing administrative liability for violation of the Russian legislation on combating corruption has been increased from 1 to 6 years following the administrative offence.
  • Administrative liability has been established not only for illegally giving but also illegally offering or promising an official, on behalf or to the benefit of a legal entity, money, securities, other property, rendering services of a property nature, granting property rights for performing an action (omission) associated with the official’s position.
    These amendments are largely intended to identify mediators, i.e., persons not empowered to perform specific management functions but able to contribute otherwise to bribery.

Previously, criminal proceedings were, as a rule, initiated against mediators under the less severe Article 159 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Fraud") or part 3, Art. 30 / Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code (attempt to commit fraud), because the corruptor did not usually have the necessary powers to act against the briber so, in the worst case, gave evidence of a desire to earn without giving money to any third party or performing action in favour of the briber. This gap in the legislation greatly reduced the amount and type of punishment imposed by the court.

Now this gap has been closed, in a number of cases, the mediator will benefit from concluding a pre-trial cooperation agreement with the investigation - an agreement between the prosecution and the defence on the terms of the liability of the suspect or the accused depending on their actions after a criminal case or indictment is initiated.  

Such an agreement would obviously involve disclosure to the investigation of the entire chain known to the mediator - from the bribe-giver to the actual bribe-taker. Previously, disclosure of such chain was, on the contrary, extremely disadvantageous to the mediator.

In practice, the result will probably be an increased number of criminal cases instituted against mediators and, consequently, higher risks for persons resorting to such mediators/services.



 

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