Resolution Of The Plenum Of The Supreme Court Of The RF "On Court Practice In Cases Of Bribery And Other Corruption Offences"


Legal Update No.433, 26 September 2013

Goltsblat BLP advises that Resolution No. 24 of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, dated 09 July 2013, titled "On court practice in cases of bribery and other corruption offences", has been published. It sets out the following key points.

1. A payment made to an official not linked to a specific act but for general patronage in the future constitutes a bribe.

2. A commercial bribe or an official bribe may consist not only of actual property but also property-related services, provided alongside property rights, such as a below market value interest rate on a loan or price for a holiday, property repairs or use of a vehicle.

3. The gravity of the offence when a bribe is paid in instalments depends on the total sum intended as the bribe. It is of no legal consequence that the bribe was not given in full because the illegal activity was cut short.

4. If someone informs another about his/her intention to give or obtain an unlawful fee for exercising, or omitting to exercise, an official function such notification is deemed to constitute the deliberate creation of conditions for committing the relevant corruption offence. If the person does nothing further his/her actions should be classed as preparation for giving or obtaining a commercial bribe or an official bribe.

5. Extortion of a commercial bribe or an official bribe may consist not only in the recipient of the bribe demanding an illegal fee but also the deliberate creation of conditions compelling someone to make such a payment in order to avoid any adverse consequences in relation to their legally protected interests. For example, this might consist of the malicious breach of deadlines for the consideration of applications made by the public.

6. It is not bribery to hand over property, not to officials, their relatives or those close to them, but to obvious third parties, including legal entities, for the exercise or otherwise of the official’s functions, provided the official gains no material benefit (for example, the managing director of a state or municipal body accepting sponsorship for his organisation). However, the official's actions might still be classified as abuse of office.

7. If someone voluntarily reports as having given a bribe, this constitutes grounds for release from criminal liability. This, however, does not mean that no crime was committed and, therefore, things of value given as a bribe cannot be reclaimed.

8. It is not a crime for someone to give a commercial bribe or an official bribe in the event of extreme necessity or as a result of psychological compulsion if there are no legal ways available to him to prevent harm to his legally protected interests or those he represents. The property handed over as a commercial bribe or an official bribe should be returned. It is no longer an offence if someone voluntarily reports to a law-enforcement authority after having given a commercial bribe or an official bribe for the purpose of catching the recipient of the bribe in the act.

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