Stronger penalties and extended legislative scope are the major features of recent changes to the global anti-corruption landscape, as detailed in the 3rd edition of the CMS Guide to Anti-bribery and Corruption Laws. Last published in 2011, the updated guide covers 26 countries, including the BRIC nations.
Some jurisdictions, such as Austria, have completely overhauled their laws in the past two years. Many have strengthened and widened the reach of their regimes, for example by making legal entities as well as individuals liable for corruption offences and by introducing stiffer penalties for financial crime.
An international consensus is emerging on the kind of conduct that is criminalised, while important variations remain in the scope and emphasis of national laws. Most nations exercise jurisdiction beyond their borders to cover corrupt acts committed in other states by individual residents. A number of regimes allow for the prosecution of local organisations whose foreign subsidiaries commit bribery offences. Corporates doing business in any of the 26 countries should take note.
The guide answers key questions on this vital area of business law in each of the 26 countries: What are the offences? Who can be liable and when? What are the penalties? What are the defences?
Omar Qureshi, Head of Anti-corruption, CMS UK, comments, “Anti-bribery and corruption continues to be an increasing focus for legislators around the world. There is a growing consensus on what types of conduct are criminalised, but there remain significant differences between countries in how the laws are applied and against whom. Given the widening scope of these laws and the penalties that can apply, it is more important than ever for businesses to be aware of the heightened risks these changes entail.”
Countries covered in the guide: Albania, Austria, Belguim, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom.