This edition of the Guide covers more countries than ever before, assessing the laws in 45 countries. We include full coverage of the BRIC nations, as well as Asia (China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia), the Middle East (the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman), South America (Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Columbia) and increased coverage in Africa (Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa).
The global anti-corruption landscape is ever evolving and we have seen many significant changes since we published the last edition of the Guide in 2018. Many of the countries in the following pages have updated, strengthened and widened the scope of their anti-corruption laws. For example, the introduction of the Bribe Destroyer Law in Italy in 2019 has resulted in more severe penalties, a widening of the definition of public officials to include those working in public international organisations and the introduction of a new offence of undue trading of influence, which attracts criminal corporate liability.
More generally, we have seen more countries introducing corporate liability for bribery offences. In both India and Malaysia, the law has been updated to include a corporate offence (with an adequate procedures/compliance defence). We have also seen a trend of increasing the level of maximum penalties available for bribery offences, with harsher penalties being made available to prosecutors in 11 jurisdictions spanning four continents (although bucking the trend we have seen maximum penalties reduced in Switzerland and the Netherlands).
The majority of countries provide for private sector bribery offences, with only six having offences that only apply to bribing public sector officials. Almost all countries recognise the concept of corporate liability for bribery (with the exception of Bulgaria and Oman, where only individuals can be prosecuted), albeit that in five jurisdictions only civil or administrative penalties can be applied to corporates (Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Hungary and Mexico). Nine countries (Australia, Chile, India, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the UK) now provide for a specific corporate offence whereby a corporate will be criminally liable for failure to prevent representatives committing bribery on its behalf.
As with previous editions, in this Guide we provide answers to the following key questions for each of the 45 countries:
- What are the offences?
- Who can be liable and when?
- What are the penalties?
- What are the defences?
We hope you find the Guide useful.
We would also particularly like to thank contributors from: Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Feras Al Shawaf, Khaitan & Co., Rajah & Tann Asia and Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie.
Contact details of all our key contributors are available below. Please do not hesitate to contact them with any questions you may have.