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Penalties

Individuals
What penalties are available to the courts for violations of corruption laws by individuals?

Bribing a Swiss or foreign public official (Articles 322ter and 322septies of the Criminal Code) is considered a felony under Swiss law. The court can sentence the convicted individual to a custodial sentence not exceeding five years or receive a monetary penalty of up to Sfr1,080,000. Further, the penalty may include:

  • prohibitions on practising a profession (Article 67 of the Criminal Code);
  • publication of the judgment (Article 68 of the Criminal Code); and
  • the administrative penalty of deportation from Switzerland for foreigners (Articles 62(b) and 63(1)(a) of the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals).

Individuals found guilty of bribing private individuals (Articles 322octies and 322novies of the Criminal Code) may be sentenced to a custodial sentence of up to three years or receive a monetary penalty of up to Sfr1,080,000.

Individuals found guilty of giving or accepting undue advantages contrary to Articles 322quinquies to 322sexies of the Criminal Code may be sentenced to a custodial sentence of up to three years or financial penalty of up to Sfr1,080,000.

Companies or organisations
What penalties are available to the courts for violations of corruption laws by companies or organisations?

The courts can issue a company or organisation with a fine of up to Sfr5,000,000 for violating the anti-corruption provisions in Article 102(1) of the Criminal Code. In fixing the fine, the court will assess:

  • the seriousness of the violation;
  • the severity of the organisational inadequacies and the loss or damage caused; and
  • the means of the company or organisation.

In addition to the sentence imposed for violating anti-corruption provisions, the court may also order the forfeiture of assets acquired through the bribery offence (Article 70 of the Criminal Code). If the assets are no longer available, the court may order compensation of the equivalent value to be paid to the state. While fines are capped at Sfr5,000,000, there is no limit on the value of assets that may be subject to forfeiture. Consequently, the financial risk for a company is considerably higher if this penalty is applied. 

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