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Anti Corruption In Norway

1. The jurisdictional framework

Sections 387, 388, and 389 of the Norwegian Penal Code (2005) establish the legal foundation for bribery in Norway. These sections relate to conduct that occurs after October 1, 2015, the implementation date.


2. What exactly is a bribe?

Section 387 of the Norwegian Penal Code defines a bribe as someone who:

  • requests, obtains, or accepts an improper advantage in connection with the conduct of a position, an office, or the performance of an assignment for themselves or others; or

  • grants or offers an improper benefit to someone in connection with the conduct of a job, an office, or the completion of a task.

In the first paragraph, position, office, or assignment also refers to a position, office, or assignment in another country.

In this legal framework, what are the primary offenses?

Receiving, requesting, or accepting an unfair advantage offer.

Giving or offering an ill-gotten gain.


3. What is the legal framework’s jurisdictional reach?

The basic norm in section 5 of the Norwegian Penal Code, which applies to all criminal offenses, including bribery, applies to all criminal acts done abroad. When acts undertaken by a Norwegian national, a person domiciled in Norway, or on behalf of a company registered in Norway are also punishable under the law of the country in which they are committed, the criminal laws applies.


4. Who can be held responsible for bribery? (public officers, private individuals, legal entities, and the like)

  • Individuals and government officials.

  • If the bribery was committed on behalf of a legal entity, the entity is accountable.

  • Unless rules state that negligence is sufficient, a necessary element for criminal culpability in Norwegian law is that the defendant has the required intent to conduct the offense. Bribery committed inadvertently is not punishable under Norwegian law.

Can a parent company be held responsible for its subsidiary’s bribery?

If the subsidiary acted on behalf of the parent firm, the answer is yes.


5. Areas of high risk

Are bribes considered for facilitation payments (i.e. small payments to speed up routine governmental action)?

Yes, if they fulfil the criteria of section 387 of the Norwegian Penal Code, which states that facilitation payments are considered bribery if the benefit is seen to be improper.

Are political and charitable contributions limited by the legal framework?

If a political or charitable donation fits the criteria of section 387 of the Norwegian Penal Code, it may be considered a bribe.

Are there any restrictions on corporate hospitality in the legal framework?

Corporate hospitality is not specifically mentioned in the Norwegian Penal Code.

However, if corporate hospitality is considered a crime under section 387 of the Norwegian Penal Code, the legal system places indirect constraints on it.

6. Legal protections

Are there any bribery offenses with defenses?

For bribery offenses, any of the common defenses in Norwegian criminal law apply.

The most relevant defense for bribery is a lack of required purpose in relation to the activities constituting bribery.

According to section 17 of the Norwegian Penal Code, bribery can be justified if the offence is committed to protect life, health, property, or other interests from a risk of harm that cannot be avoided in any other reasonable way, and the risk of harm is far greater than the risk of harm associated with the bribery offence.


7. Bodies in charge of regulation and enforcement

What are the primary regulatory or enforcement body for bribery?

The Norwegian public prosecuting authority prosecutes all offenses, including bribery charges.

Depending on the following factors, the Norwegian Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (KOKRIM) may opt to prosecute the case instead of the local public prosecutor:

the investigation’s extent; the case’s complexity and economic impact; whether the case contains cross-border components; and the case’s primary significance.


8. Legal implications

What are the legal implications of being charged with bribery offenses?

If convicted, individuals could face up to ten years in jail.

A fine of any amount can be imposed on a company.

A person or a company may also face the forfeiture of criminal property as a result of the offense.


9. Deferred prosecution agreements 

Are there any deferred prosecution agreements (dpas) or other similar settlement mechanisms?

In general, under Norwegian criminal law, there is no way to agree to end a criminal investigation through pre-trial diversion or a deferred prosecution agreement. A defendant may try to work out a deal with the prosecution on criminal culpability and sentencing. The court, however, will not be bound by this. The court, on the other hand, will weigh the prosecution’s and indicted’s conversations while deciding the case.