On 20.04.2016, the Swiss Federal Council has enacted the revision of the anti-corruption law to become effective on 01.07.2016.
Swiss Anti-Corruption regulation has been in place since 2006. One main prerequisite for an investigation was a criminal complaint served by a person concerned (such as a competitor). However, based on this statute 2006, no single conviction has become public. Now, the latest revision reduces the hurdles for criminal prosecution significantly:
- Authorities will investigate suspected private corruption without a private criminal complaint (except for de minimis cases).
- No evidence of a distorting market effect is any longer necessary.
- The norm is now part of the Swiss Criminal Code and not just part of the Statute against Unfair Competition.
- Extension of application to cover also dealings with officials:
- Granting undue advantage to, or acceptance of advantages by officials as consideration for an official act; and
- Granting undue advantage not directly to the officer but also with his knowledge to third parties.
- As a general rule, the new corruption law, often described as “Lex-FIFA”, is not relevant for ongoing proceedings. The criminal code foresees that unlawful activities committed prior the introduction of the ex officio prosecution of the offence would still require a filing from a third party to institute proceedings.