The Public Prosecution Service has issued two sets of guidelines on the investigation and prosecution of corruption in the Netherlands. Both guidelines took effect on 1 August 2011 and underline an increased focus on tackling corrupt practices in the Netherlands. The Public Prosecutions Service has appointed a specialised public prosecutor to prosecute corrupt practices in accordance with these guidelines.
Bribery of public officials in the Netherlands
The guidelines describe factors relevant in detecting and prosecuting bribery of public officials in the Netherlands. For instance, in determining whether a gift constitutes criminal conduct several factors should be considered, including the degree to which the public official could know that his actions were prohibited and whether the gift was of an incidental nature.
Bribery of public officials abroad
Bribery of a Dutch public official by a foreigner and bribery of a foreign public official by a Dutch national are both prohibited in the Netherlands. The guidelines include jurisdiction-related matters and the relevant factors in deciding whether to prosecute corrupt practices involving foreign officials. Factors that are considered relevant in deciding not to prosecute, include that the payment does not have any anti-competitive effect or the gift is entered in the company's books and records in a transparent manner and is not concealed.
As from 1 April 2010, the fine for bribing public officials is raised from category 4 to category 5. Furthermore, bribery is a criminal offence for which a confiscation claim can be instituted. The assumption is that confiscation will be sought when the advantage obtained has been estimated at a minimum amount of EUR 500.