Bribery of Russian public officials, both active and passive, is illegal under Russian law.
A bribe is defined as offering benefits to a Russian public official (bribe taker) (including instances where a bribe is provided to another individual or legal entity on their instructions) in exchange for acts or omissions by such public official in favor of the bribe giver or any other parties.
Aiding and abetting public corruption is a separate crime. Aiding and abetting is described as the physical giving of a bribe on the instructions of the person giving or receiving the bribe, as well as any additional help to any of these individuals in negotiating or carrying out a bribe arrangement. This includes any offers or pledges of help in aiding and abetting public bribery, regardless of the bribe’s value.
In Russia “public officials” are defined as persons who perform organizational or administrative functions in state and municipal bodies, state or municipal establishments, as well as the Russian military and other armed forces.
(a) For the Individuals Involved
The penalties under Article 291 of the Criminal Code vary depending on: (a) whether the bribe giver acted alone or in collusion with others; (b) whether the bribe was offered for the conduct of a legitimate or unlawful conduct (or refusal to act); and (c) the bribe amount.
For minor public bribery, the minimum penalty is RUB 10,000 (USD 170). include a fine of up to RUB 200,000 (USD 3,400) or the convicted’s salary or other income for a period of up to three months, correctional labor for up to one year, a restriction of freedom for up to two years, or incarceration for up to one year.
A fine of RUB 2 million (USD 32,400) to RUB 4 million (USD 64,900) or the amount of the convicted’s salary or other income for a period of two to four years, or 70 to 90 times the amount of the bribe, with or without a prohibition from holding certain positions or engaging in certain professional activities is the maximum sanction for a bribe exceeding RUB 1 million (approximately USD 17,000).
If a person who has given a bribe actively assisted in detecting and prosecuting the crime, and either the bribe was extorted from him or she voluntarily disclosed the bribe to criminal law enforcement authorities, he or she may be relieved from criminal culpability.
The penalties and grounds for release from criminal culpability for aiding and abetting public bribery are essentially comparable to those for public bribery (excluding the ground of extortion).
Property obtained as a result of a criminal offense, as well as any property into which such criminally obtained property has been subsequently transformed, as well as any income from the use of such property, may be subject to seizure under Article 104.1 of the Criminal Code.
According to Article 104.2 of the Criminal Code, a court may decide to confiscate the value of unlawfully obtained property if, by the time the court delivers a judgment, confiscation of the property as a whole has become impracticable due to use, sale, or other circumstances. If such monies are not available or are insufficient, the court may decide to seize other property of equal or comparable value to the unlawfully obtained property.
(a) For the corporation/legal entity
Legal entities in Russia are not subject to criminal liability. When a legal entity is found guilty of illegal behavior, it is usually susceptible to administrative liabilities, such as administrative fines.
Article 19.28 of the Code of Administrative Offenses imposes administrative liability on a legal entity for the unlawful provision, offer, or promise of anything of monetary value to a Russian public official or manager of a non-public legal entity for any actions or omissions to act in the interests of this legal entity by anyone acting in the name or in the interests of this legal entity.
The penalties under Article 19.28 of the Code of Administrative Offenses vary according to the amount of the illegal remuneration, or bribe. A fine of up to three times the bribe amount, but not less than RUB 1 million (USD 17,000), is the minimum sentence for a bribe up to RUB 1 million (USD 17,000). A punishment of up to 100 times the bribe amount, but not less than RUB 100 million (USD 1.7 million), is the maximum sentence for a bribe above RUB 20 million (USD 340,000). The bribe or its comparable value may be confiscated in all situations.
Article 19.28 of the Code of Administrative Offenses allows a legal body to be held accountable, regardless of the criminality of a specific individual involved in the bribe offering.
Federal Law No. 95- FZ “On Political Parties,” enacted on July 11, 2001, governs contributions to political parties. In principle, contributions to political parties from legal entities are permitted if the total amount of contributions from one legal entity does not exceed RUB 43.3 million (USD 732,000) per year. As a general rule, political parties are not permitted to accept contributions from state authorities, foreign entities, individuals, or non-profit organizations that have received donations from any of the aforementioned entities within the preceding year.
Contributions by legal entities to the electoral budgets of political parties and candidates for public posts (including the presidency of Russia) are likewise restricted by federal rules.
The legal constraints on acts of hospitality are often determined by the recipient’s rank and the general purpose of the hospitality, rather than by the sort of hospitality. State and municipal employees are prohibited from accepting any hospitality (gifts, loans, services, payment for entertainment, vacations, and transportation expenditures, among other things). At the same time, not every public official in Russia is classified as a state or municipal employee, and each case must be assessed separately.
Private bribery (also known as “commercial bribery”) is defined in Article 204 of the Criminal Code as the unlawful provision of anything of monetary value (including property rights and services, among other things) to a person who performs managerial functions in a commercial or other organization, or on such person’s instructions to another individual or legal entity, for an act of omission.
Passive commercial bribery is defined as the receipt of anything of monetary value (including property rights, services, and other items) for an ad hoc purpose by a person who performs managerial functions in a commercial or other organization (including instances where the commercial bribe is handed over to another individual or legal entity on such person’s instructions).
Furthermore, the same conduct may be prosecuted under Article 201 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits abuse of authority, defined as the use of a person’s authority in a commercial or other organization, contrary to the lawful interests of that organization, for the purpose of obtaining an advantage not only for himself but also for other people.
According to Article 201 of the Criminal Code, a person who performs managerial functions might be an individual executive officer, a member of a collective executive body, or a member of the board of directors. Relevant persons, in addition to top management, include individuals who undertake organizational or administrative duties, that is, those who manage at least some of the organization’s personnel or property.