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Specific offences and restrictions

Offences

What are the key corruption and bribery offences in your jurisdiction?

The key corruption and bribery offences regarding office bearers and adjudicators can be found in Sections 304 to 308 of the Austrian Criminal Code. These cover:

  • active and passive bribery;
  • giving and accepting undue advantages;
  • accepting benefits; and
  • giving undue benefits for the purpose of interference and unlawful intervention.

Active and passive bribery derives from the unlawful execution or omission of official duties, whereas giving and accepting an undue advantage derives from the lawful execution or omission of official duties.

Accepting benefits or giving undue benefits for the purpose of interference derives not from certain specified acts or omissions, but rather from the general act of ‘grooming’. Any intervention is unlawful if it is aimed at effecting the unlawful execution or omission of official duties, or if it is associated with the offer, promise or provision of undue advantages.

Section 309 covers bribery in private companies. Any person who is an employee or representative of a company will be guilty of an unlawful acceptance of gifts where – in the course of a business transaction – he or she demands, accepts or accepts the promise of an advantage for himself, herself or a third person in return for the execution or omission of a legal act in breach of the person’s duties.

Similarly, any person will be guilty of bribery of employees and representatives where – in the course of a business transaction – he or she offers, promises or provides a benefit to an employee or representative of a company in return for the execution or omission of a legal act in breach of that person’s duties.

Hospitality restrictions

Are specific restrictions in place regarding the provision of hospitality (eg, gifts, travel expenses, meals and entertainment)? If so, what are the details?

Any benefit offered to office bearers and adjudicators or employees and representatives of private companies is to be evaluated based on Sections 304 to 309 of the Austrian Criminal Code.

As a rule of thumb, gifts to office bearers and adjudicators are problematic. There are few exemptions, and in general only for minor benefits that are not granted in the context of any specific mandate or – even without any causality to such a mandate – the unlawful execution or omission of an official duty.

Any acceptable benefit must be of minor value. The easier that it can be turned into money, the more critically the benefit will be considered. For benefits that have no temporary value (eg, an invitation to attend a conference or a Christmas gift), a cost of €100 should not be exceeded. A special code of conduct applies for certain groups of government officials (including judges), with zero tolerance for infraction. Nevertheless, specific exemptions exist, including for charitable donation and invitations to events in which there is an official or factual interest to participate. A detailed check of Austrian law and review of the relevant code of conduct are highly recommended.

Facilitation payments

What are the rules relating to facilitation payments?

Under Austrian law, no special provisions apply to facilitation payments. 

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