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Specific offences and restrictions
What are the key corruption and bribery offences in your jurisdiction?
The key corruption and bribery offences in the United Arab Emirates are set out in Articles 234 to 239 of Federal Law 3/1987. These articles criminalise slight variations of bribery offences, but in essence boil down to the criminalisation of:
- any public official or person entrusted with public service functions or a foreign public official or an employee of an international organisation who accepts, solicits or promises to accept, whether for themselves or a third party, a bribe, being any undeserved gift or privilege or grant, whether directly or indirectly, in return for the commission or omission of an act during the course of their duties;
- a person who manages an entity or establishment of the private sector or any person who works for such entities in any capacity, who accepts, solicits or promises to accept, whether for themselves or a third party, a bribe, being any undeserved gift or privilege or grant, whether directly or indirectly, in return for the commission or omission of an act in accordance with or in default of their job duties; and
- a person who promises, offers or gives a public official or person entrusted with public service functions or a foreign public official or an employee of an international organisation, a bribe, whether directly or indirectly, in return for the commission or omission of an act during the course of their duties.
It should be noted that these laws separately criminalise the bribee in both the public and private sectors, but only criminalise the briber in the public sector.
Offences include situations where the act or omission in the course of an official’s duties occurs before or after any relevant promise, solicitation, acceptance or offer and also in the case of crimes committed by the official whether they actually intended to follow through with the action they were to receive or had received a bribe for.
These offences provide that bribes may be any “undeserved gift or privilege or grant”, which may be to the benefit of the person bribed or a third party and the offences may be carried out both directly or indirectly.
In addition, the act of influencing a person to engage in a bribery offence (whether as the briber or bribee) is a criminal offence.
A person convicted for bribery offences will be fined an amount equivalent to the bribe or if greater Dh5,000. In addition, when a crime involves a public official or a person entrusted with public service functions, any gift accepted by them or offered to them will be confiscated.
The briber or any intermediary may be exempt from criminal punishment if they promptly inform the authorities of the crime before the crime is discovered.
Bribery provisions are explicitly extra-territorial and criminalise such acts if they occur outside the United Arab Emirates, if the perpetrator or victim is a UAE national or if the crime was committed by a public or private employee in the United Arab Emirates or involved in UAE public property.
Other corruption offences
The other key corruption offences in the United Arab Emirates are those relating to money laundering or the financing of terrorism. This covers:
- money laundering, which includes:
- exchanging; or
- managing any proceeds of crime or concealing or disguising the true nature or origin, ownership, location, rights related to said proceeds; and
- terrorist financing, which includes:
- securing; or
- transferring funds, in any way directly or indirectly to any entity or person falling under the provisions of Federal Law 7/2014 concerning Combatting Terrorism Crimes.
Are specific restrictions in place regarding the provision of hospitality (eg, gifts, travel expenses, meals and entertainment)? If so, what are the details?
There are specific restrictions on both federal and government employees under respective human resources laws (Federal Decree Law 11/2008 and Dubai Law 26/2007), which prohibit the acceptance of any material gifts, other than those of a purely symbolic or promotional nature marked with the logo and name of the presenting party.
What are the rules relating to facilitation payments?
In the United Arab Emirates, facilitation payments constitute criminal conduct on the part of both the briber and the bribee under Articles 234, 235 and 237 of Federal Law 3/1987. Articles 234 and 235 criminalise the bribee (ie, the public official) and Article 237 criminalises the briber.
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