The concept of corporate criminal liability has developed and permeated into the legal regimes of countries around the world, whether as a result of their obligations to implement the OECD’s 1997 convention on combatting bribery of foreign public officials, as a response to the US’s approach to enforcement of their Foreign Corrupt Practices Act against non-US corporates and persons, or simply to reflect public sentiment that corporates should be punished where they permit or gain from financial crime. CEE countries are embracing the global trend of prosecuting corporate entities for criminal misconduct by their officers and employees. Although a fairly new concept in the region, corporate liability exists in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Corporations may also be subject to sanctions in Bulgaria and Ukraine, even though the concept of criminal or quasi-criminal liability does not (yet) operate in these countries.
This brochure outlines the risks faced by companies operating in these seven CEE countries. We will look at the principles which form the basis of corporate liability and its relationship with the criminal liability of individual employees or agents. We will also consider defences and mitigating factors, and the types and severity of penalties. Both prevention and efforts at limiting liability call for a comprehensive and coherent compliance system.