Even though the compliance and white-collar crime practice in Austria is still in its development, it holds significant importance, not only for companies placed at risk by the crimes committed by their employees, but also for companies striving to prevent future bribery. It has become necessary for companies to actively fight against corruption related crimes. A series of corruption cases has led to a tightening of Austrian anti-corruption laws and intense media coverage has triggered increased sensibility in the public’s opinion. Therefore, companies brought to court do not only face strict punishment but might also suffer considerable reputational damage. In order to manage the mounting risks, more companies have decided to establish preventive measures. The main anti-corruption preventions are stipulated in the Austrian Criminal Code (“ACC“). Further, the Austrian Unfair Competition Act (“UWG“) also provides for anti-corruption provisions.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (“BiH“) is a state with a complex structure, comprising of two entities, the Republic of Srpska (“RS“) and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“FBiH“), and one district, Brčko (a town in northern Bosnia), each having specific legislative jurisdiction. While Anti-Corruption activities are regulated separately at the state and entity levels, relevant rules are sufficiently similar allowing us to present a uniform overview of the entire state, with clear indications of specific differences. The Criminal Act of BiH (“CABH“) regulates the active and passive bribery in BiH, imposing sanctions only for bribery in the public sector. On the other hand, the Criminal Act of RS (“CARS“) and Criminal Act of FBiH (“CAFBIH“) impose sanctions for both active and passive bribery in the public and private sectors. An important novelty are the recent amendments to the CARS, regulating active and passive bribery in the private sector as specific crimes, which may aid in the fight against corruption at RS level. For now, BH, FBiH and Brčko District have not followed suit in updating their anti-corruption legislation.
Anti-corruption laws in Bulgaria apply to both the public and private sector. Hence, within the last few years, the usual practice for companies has been to implement internal anti-corruption rules, which provide for a number of preventive measures against different potential forms of bribery and money laundering. In addition, compliance trainings for managers / executive directors and employees are also common practice within private companies.
Within the Transparency International’s 2018 CPI index, Croatia is ranked 60th, which places it below almost all EU countries. Although the perception of corruption in the public sector is still prevalent, the fight against corruption has begun. Companies in both, the public and private sectors are now introducing internal Anti-Corruption policies to prepare their employees for situations in which they might face corruption on a daily basis. The policies reflect the relevant statutory anti-corruption provisions and include corruption prevention measures.
On the perceived level of public sector corruption, the Czech Republic ranked 38th in Transparency International’s 2018 CPI index, which places it in the less favourable half of all evaluated EU member states. This is compounded with an increasing spotlight on corruption within the media and across the Czech Republic. In order to prevent damage to their reputations (and of course also incurring penalties), companies actively pursue internal anti-corruption policies to prepare their employees for situations in which they might face corruption in day-to-day business, both in the public and private sectors. The policies reflect the relevant statutory anti-corruption provisions (e.g. from the Czech Criminal Code (“CCC“), and the Czech Code on Criminal Liability of Corporate Entities Code on Criminal Liability of Corporate Entities (“Czech CCLCE“)), and often include corruption prevention measures.
In Hungary, the Hungarian Criminal Code (“HCC“) dedicates a separate chapter to crimes of corruption. The general concept of the regulation is that both sides of criminal activities (active and passive in public and private sector) fall within the scope of the HCC. In addition, other types of crimes are punishable as well: abuse of a function, indirect corruption or the failure to report crimes of corruption. The current amended legislation in Hungary met an acceptable level of compliance with the recommendations of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and is in line with international anti-corruption conventions. Its practice however, the strict anti-corruption preventions still need to be implemented and enforced.
The white-collar crime practice in Kosovo is still in its infancy.
The Kosovo Criminal Code (“KCC“) which has recently entered into force dedicates a separate chapter to official corruption and criminal offences against official duty. In addition, the anti-corruption legislation includes Law No. 06/L-011 “On Prevention of Conflict in Discharge of a Public Function”, which governs permitted and prohibited activities of public officials in the performance of public duties.
Despite the reform in legal infrastructure and establishment of structures for the execution of anti-corruption laws, corruption remains very widespread in Kosovo, and law enforcement authorities are generally very reluctant to combat it.
The prevention of corruption in the Republic of North Macedonia is mainly reflected in the Macedonian Criminal Code (“MCC“) and the Law on Prevention of Corruption and Conflict of Interests (“LPCCI“). Namely, the MCC stipulates the main elements of active and passive bribery in the public and private sector. The MCC also stipulates the conditions under which a legal entity could be held criminally liable. The LPCCI regulates the measures and activities for prevention of corruption and conflict of interest in the exercise of power and performance of activities of public interest by legal persons connected with the exercise of public authorisations.
Throughout 2012, the Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova (“MPC“) underwent a series of amendments, including changes within the domain of white-collar crime. In particular, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova introduced the possibility for holding companies (i.e. legal entities) liable for acts of bribery or acts of influence peddling.
After the changes to the MCC, companies face both increased risk of sanctions and the significant impact that any penal case would have on a company’s image. Hence, it is very important that companies operating in Moldova establish strict rules and implement preventive measures in their respective domains.
In 2013, the Republic of Montenegro decided to tighten its anti-bribery rules. The monetary penalties are higher and potential (convicted) offenders are facing longer imprisonment. The for bribery has been eliminated. The effect of the new regulations in practice is yet to be seen.
Bribery, in both the public and private sectors is all too common. Market challenges have put executives and managers under increasing pressure and have made them vulnerable to the risks of bribery, which may lead to serious punishments for individuals, as well as for companies found to be involved in bribery.
Bribery of individuals is prosecuted under the Polish Criminal Code (“PCC“), whereas the liability of companies for offences of its employees is regulated by the Polish Code on Criminal Liability of Corporate Entities (“Polish CCLCE“).
Even though the focus of the criminal authorities in Romania is the fight against corruption-related offences in the public sector, it is unanimously acknowledged that the private sector is also part of the problem. Consequently, anti-corruption laws in Romania apply to both the public and private sectors. Moreover, under Romanian law criminal liability related to corruption-related offences can be triggered not only against individuals, but also against companies. Companies operating in Romania should be increasing their focus on internal controls and on compliance programmes related to anti-corruption. Especially when considering the sanctions imposed by the authorities once a company is found to be criminally liable and its reputation has been tarnished.
Over the last few years, the fight against corruption has taken a central place in the media and in Serbian politics. To date, only natural persons, Officials in state-owned companies and public administration, and Officers-in-charge within local companies have been held liable for bribery-related offences. No company has as yet been prosecuted nor found liable. However, with (i) the Serbian Code on Criminal Liability of Corporate Entities (“Serbian CCLCE“) having entered into force in 2008, and (ii) bribery-related offences separately regulated for the public and private sector by amendments to the Serbian Criminal Code (“SCC“), it is simply a matter of which company will be convicted first.
The practice of white-collar crime prevention in Slovakia is not yet well developed despite the fact that the situation has been changing. The changes have mainly been due to an increased general awareness of legal regulations and consequences surrounding white collar crime, both legally, and for the reputation of companies or bodies affected by it. As a result, companies are starting to pro-actively seek out and implement compliance measures, such as internal regulations, and whistleblowing-systems (which are now obligatory for bigger companies in Slovakia).
Direct corporate criminal liability has been recently established by the Act No. 91/2016 Coll. on Corporate Criminal Liability with the effect as of 1 July 2016 (“ACCL“).
Slovenia has considerably upgraded its anti-corruption framework over the past few years. However, the Slovenian Commission for Prevention of Corruption, as well as the media constantly reports violations of anti-corruption laws in Slovenia, which indicates the weakness of the implemented control mechanisms in place. Whereas measures and methods to enhance the integrity of the system and to combat corruption are incorporated in the Slovenian Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act, criminal offences pertaining to corruption, including bribery, are enacted under the Slovenian Criminal Code (“SCC“).
White collar crimes, such as bribery, insider trading, tax crimes and bid rigging, are regulated through strict terms and penalties under Turkish law, in order to comply with bilateral international treaties such as the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption CETS No. 173 of 1999 (“Treaty 173“), which Turkey ratified on 29 March 2004. With the significant amendments made to the Turkish Criminal Code (“TCC“) in 2012, the scope of anti-bribery provisions has widened. In order to specify an offence as a bribe, it is no longer required that a bribe be performed solely by a Public Official, since authorised persons in publicly held companies are also deemed to be Public Officials. However, terms for bribery in the private sector are currently not regulated thoroughly.
In 2013, Ukrainian Anti-Corruption law was significantly amended and updated to bring it in line with international best practices. The amendments provide a more consistent and straightforward legal framework for corruption offences. However, the practical application of these new provisions will largely depend on the interpretations of the relevant criminal enforcement authorities and courts. It is nevertheless advisable for Ukrainian businesses paying particular attention to the new Anti-corruption provisions and consider adopting relevant compliance programmes.