Companies in Australia can benefit from leniency if they report potential illegal corrupt behaviour or bribe payments early and offer to help with investigations. The advantage, on the other hand, does not come in the shape of an agreed-upon decision. At one level, cooperation may result in the prosecutor declining to file charges. However, if charges are filed, the only benefit of cooperating is to plead guilt, often accept a conviction, and attempt to have the term imposed by the court reduced. Under Australian criminal law, a firm or an individual cannot reach an agreement with the prosecutor on the sentencing determination. The sentencing judge has complete discretion when it comes to deciding on a sentence. A sentencing judge must consider a plethora of statutory factors while determining a sentence “that is of a severity appropriate in all the circumstances of the conduct.” An early plea usually results in a significant reduction in the sentence.
As a general rule, reporting oneself or someone else to the police has no bearing on the penalty imposed by a court later on. There is no legal provision that particularly provides for leniency in corruption cases as a result of self-reporting or cooperating with authorities. However, the courts have the authority to consider whatever reason they deem significant in reducing the defendant’s sentence. As a result, while it is not assured, judges may be more lenient in practice with helpful and constructive defendants.
No, under French law, corporations that expose anti-corruption violations are not eligible for formal leniency programs. There is, however, a mechanism in place for natural persons who reveal infractions in exchange for reduced fines. In 2013, a new law entered the French Criminal Code, allowing perpetrators or accomplices of bribery or influence peddling of public officials or judicial staff to have their penalties reduced by half if they inform the administrative or judicial authorities, allowing them to prevent or stop the offence, or identify other perpetrators or accomplices.
When it comes to corruption offenses, there is no leniency program. Despite this, a company’s disclosure of infractions and cooperation with investigative authorities might be beneficial. For example, under Section 47 of the Act on Administrative Offenses, administrative offence proceedings against the corporation may be dropped for the sake of expediency. If the case is not dismissed, the public prosecutor’s office has many alternatives for rewarding the company’s cooperation. It may, in accordance with Section 30 in conjunction with Section 17(3) of the Act on Administrative Offenses, take cooperation into account when calculating the fine; or, in accordance with Section 30(4) of the Act on Administrative Offenses, it may even forego issuing a fine entirely and instead skim off the economic benefit obtained through corruption. The corporation, however, is not entitled to such relief even in the case of considerable cooperation. As a result, early disclosure should be considered.
Corporate entities in Ireland are not eligible for formal leniency deals if they violate anti-corruption rules. If the authorities pursue a prosecution, however, voluntarily disclosing the infraction or helping with the investigation may be used to reduce the sentence.
There is no unique procedure in Swiss law that allows for self-reporting to be tolerated. However, if a corporation becomes aware of anti-corruption crimes in its organization, it is highly advised to voluntarily report them and work closely with the authorities. We feel that cooperation and honest behavior will benefit the organization, based on our previous experience. It may also benefit from SCC Article 53, which allows a competent court to decrease monetary punishment based on the company’s cooperation. If the company has made reparation for the loss, damage, or injury it has caused, or has made every reasonable effort to right the wrong it has caused, the competent authority may refrain from prosecuting or sanctioning it if the requirements for a suspended sentence are met and the interests of the general public and those harmed in the prosecution are negligible. As a kind of atonement, the corporation usually donates a respectable amount of money to a charity project. Self-reporting is only possible if the Attorney General’s Office has no suspicions or knowledge of a company’s criminal conduct. The obvious reason for this is that it would be inexplicable if a firm could avoid criminal prosecution simply by acknowledging what is obviously obvious or at least presumed after being caught.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is likely to look favorably on corporations that self-report – but only if it is part of a genuine effort to correct wrongdoings once the company’s management is aware of them. There is no certainty that no charges will be filed. In the case of the Sweett Group, the bribery was only revealed when a newspaper article about it was published. It then failed to notify additional illicit payments until the SFO’s inquiry had begun. The firm was found guilty and fined £2.25 million. Companies are encouraged to self-report under deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs), which were brought into the UK judicial system under the Crime and Courts Act 2013. A DPA is an agreement negotiated between the SFO or the CPS and a company that could be prosecuted for committing a corporate crime. The agreement, which was reached under the supervision of a court, allows for the suspension of a prosecution for a defined length of time if the organization meets specific criteria. If the corporation fails to follow these requirements, the DPA may be terminated and criminal charges may be pursued. When the SFO and Rolls-Royce agreed to a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in 2017 in respect to systemic bribery in a number of nations, it demonstrated the benefit of cooperation. Although Rolls-Royce had not self-reported the misconduct, Sir Brian Leveson QC, in granting the DPA, praised the company’s “exceptional cooperation” with investigators, which earned Rolls-Royce a 50% reduction in the penalty imposed. However, if the bribery or corruption is deemed to be so widespread or widespread that it is in the interests of justice to initiate a prosecution, no amount of cooperation or self-reporting will preclude one.
Bribers or intermediates who report an offence before it is found are excluded from the penalty under Article 239 of the Federal Penal Code. The code makes no indication of whether parties who take a bribe and report it will be excluded from the penalty. If the criminal pleads guilty (in any context), this will very certainly be deemed a mitigating circumstance. In these types of situations, the courts have broad authority to assess the circumstances of each case, as well as any mitigating considerations that may apply, in determining the appropriate punishment.
Companies can voluntarily disclose anti-corruption crimes and participate with current investigations, which is encouraged by US authorities. If a violation is confirmed, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will take self-reporting and cooperation into account when deciding on an appropriate punishment (DOJ and SEC, “A Resource Guide to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” at 54 (2012, updated 2015)). Federal prosecutors are instructed to consider a company’s voluntary and timely disclosures, as well as its willingness to provide relevant information, as well as any remedial measures that demonstrate a commitment to correcting the misconduct, under the Department of Justice’s Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations. Similarly, the SEC’s methodology for evaluating company cooperation directs the SEC to consider self-reporting, remediation efforts, and collaboration with law enforcement authorities when evaluating company cooperation (id at 54-55).