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Specific offences and restrictions
What are the key corruption and bribery offences in your jurisdiction?
The illegal abuse of a position for personal gain is governed by Article 317 of the Criminal Code. Under this provision, it is an offence for a public official to abuse his or her position or powers by forcing another party to give or promise unduly to himself/herself or a third party money or other benefits.
Italian law prohibits various corruption-related offences, including different types of behaviour by public officials. Under Article 318 of the Criminal Law, it is an offence for a public official to receive unduly, for himself/herself or a third party, money or other benefits or a promise thereof in return for the performance of duties or powers.
Under Article 319 of the Criminal Code, it is an offence for a public official to omit or delay an act of office or make or induce another party to commit an act that is contrary to his or her office.
Under Article 322 of the Criminal Code, it is an offence for a party to unduly offer or promise money or other benefits to a public official to induce him or her to commit an act governed by the above provisions.
The following less serious offences are also governed by the Criminal Code:
- Under Article 319quarter, it is an offence for a public official to abuse his or her title or powers by inducing a party to give or promise unduly to himself/herself or a third party money or other benefits. In such cases, the party that gives or promises the money or other benefits will also be punished.
- Under Article 323, it is an offence for a public official to violate laws or regulations or fail to abstain when there is a conflict of interest regarding himself/herself or a relative (or in other specific cases) – in the performance of his or her duties or services – in order to gain financial advantages wilfully and unduly for himself/herself or other parties or bring about damages to other parties.
- Under Article 346bis, it is an offence for a party (outside the hypothesis of abetting an offence governed by Articles 319 and 319ter of the Criminal Code) to abuse unduly its relationship with a public official by forcing another party to give or promise to it or a third party money or other benefits in return for illegal mediation with the public official.
Finally, in 2012 a new corruption offence regarding directors, general managers and executives responsible for record keeping was introduced by way of Article 2635 of the Civil Code. This provision punishes persons with managerial jobs who accept money or other benefits for performing acts against their company’s interests.
Are specific restrictions in place regarding the provision of hospitality (eg, gifts, travel expenses, meals and entertainment)? If so, what are the details?
Under the Criminal Code, ‘money or other benefits’ constitute illegal compensation. However, no specific examples are provided. From a criminal point of view, judiciary and Court of Cassation decisions show that any advantage can be considered an undue advantage – be it material, moral, economic or non-economic – if it is objectively significant.
Thus, social advantages which have indirect or implied economic consequences – such as maintaining social status, performing a given job or developing specific social relationships – constitute an undue advantage.
What are the rules relating to facilitation payments?
Following a conviction or penalty imposed on request by the relevant parties in accordance with Article 444 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Italian law provides for the mandatory confiscation of illicit payments deriving from crimes against the public administration.
The ‘price’ of a crime is what is promised to a party for committing the offence, while the ‘profit’ is any financial benefit deriving directly from the crime.
In particular, Article 322ter requires the mandatory confiscation of the profit or price of such crimes, but only if they are not owned by an uninvolved third party. In such cases, goods owned by the offender of equal value to the profit or price of the crime – or in any case no less than the money or other benefits given or promised to the public official – will be confiscated (the so-called ‘confiscation of the equivalent’ provision). For parties that induce crimes against the public administration, Article 322ter also requires the mandatory confiscation of their goods equal in value to the profit or price of the crime – or in any case no less than the money or other benefits given or promised to the public official – where such profit or price is owned by an uninvolved third party.
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