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Penalties

Individuals

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

The penalties available to the courts range from fines and suspended sentences (ie, reprimands) to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment in the most severe cases.

The penalty (imprisonment or fine) for an intentional criminal offence committed by a government official who abuses an opportunity provided to him or her in his or her official capacity may be exceeded by 50%. However, the maximum term of imprisonment must not exceed 20 years.

For minor criminal offences punishable by less than five years’ imprisonment, there is also the possibility of a diversion, which is a settlement without a sentence. The basic prerequisites for a diversion are that the facts are sufficiently clear and there are no general or special preventive reasons for a conviction. Instead of a jail sentence, the prosecution authority or the court will order:

  • a monetary fine;
  • community service;
  • probation; or
  • compensation for harm done (including restitution).

Companies or organisations

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

Under the Act on Corporate Criminal Liability, corporations are subject to fines which are measured in per diem units, as well as to court directives (eg, to compensate for harm done, to implement a proper compliance system or to make charitable donations). The current maximum fine for violation of anti-corruption rules is €1.3 million.

If the relevant preconditions are met, diversion is also available for corporations. When deciding on diversion as an alternative to a conviction, the authority will consider, among other things:

  • the behaviour of the company before and after the criminal act;
  • the consequences of the illegal act and the compensation by the company; and
  • the need to deter the company specifically and the public in general. 

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