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

Breach of the provisions of Criminal Code regarding corrupting behaviours may result in the imprisonment of the offender.

With regard to the duration of the sentence that the judge may impose, the Italian Criminal Code lays down a range between one and 12 years of imprisonment, based on the seriousness of the crime. The most severe penalties apply for offences including:

  • ‘extortion committed by a public official’ (Article 317 of the Criminal Code);
  • ‘passive bribery’ (Article 319); and
  • ‘bribery in legal proceedings’ (Article 319ter).

Article 322 of the Criminal Code provides a reduced penalty for ‘induction to corruption’.

In case of conviction for one of the corruption offences, the judge will order:

  • the confiscation of the goods that constitute the price, the product or the profit of the crime, unless they belong to a person extraneous to the crime; or
  • if the confiscation of the goods described above is not possible, the confiscation of goods of the offender for an amount equal to the profit of the crime.

The law also provides that the offender may incur in ancillary penalties, such as the provisional or permanent disqualification from holding public office.

Companies or organisations

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

Pursuant to Legislative Decree 231/2001, pecuniary penalties may apply in connection with corruption and bribery. The pecuniary sanction is determined by the judge through a quota-based system, from a minimum of €258 to a maximum of €1,549 per quota.

In determining the pecuniary penalty, the judge has a wide discretionary power, and will consider elements such as:

  • the economic and financial stance of the company;
  • the importance of the act/offence committed;
  • what the company did in order to cancel or mitigate the consequences of the act; and
  • what ongoing practices the company has in place in order to prevent the commission of crimes.

In case of more serious offences (eg, breach of Articles 319, 319ter(1) and 321 of Criminal Code), the judge may also apply, for a minimum period of one year, prohibitory penalties such as:

  • restrictions on the business activity of the company;
  • suspension or withdrawal of licences and permits;
  • prohibition of contracting with the state or with governmental agencies;
  • non-eligibility for, or revocation of, funding and subsidies;
  • prohibition against advertising goods and services; and
  • total ban on conducting business.

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