The Russian Supreme Court recently made important changes* to Plenum Resolution No. 24 “On judicial practice in cases of bribery and other corruption crimes” dated 9 July 2013* and in particular expanded the elements that characterise corruption offences.
The court’s explanations, outlined below, apply both to “classical” bribery (i.e. in favour of public officials) and commercial bribery (i.e. bribery in favour of commercial organisation executives).
A bribe is not only money or securities, but also the illegal provision of property-related services and the provision of property rights. In other words, it encompasses any asset with a monetary value.
The “provision of property-related services” can, for example, take the form of the provision of a loan with a lower interest rate, free or cheaper tourist packages, flat renovation, the construction of summer houses, a loan of property (in particular, vehicles) or the fulfillment of obligations towards other persons.
In light of the development of information technologies, remuneration can now be illegally received through new means, such as crediting a bribe to an electronic wallet (e.g. Yandex.Money).
When a bribe, in particular a large one amounting to more than RUB 150,000 (EUR 2,150), is to be handed over in several stages, and the bribe-taker is detained after receiving the first part of the bribe, meaning that the total bribe did not reach this threshold, the deed should still qualify as the giving of a bribe in a large amount. In this way, the very intention to commit a crime will in itself constitute the offence.
Mediation in bribery
Both passing on a bribe and assisting with the commission of a corruption crime (e.g. organising a meeting, conducting negotiations) amount to mediation in bribery.
The crime is committed as soon as the intermediary performs one of these actions, regardless of whether the agreement on the transfer of the bribe was achieved.
The above clarifications create additional risks for good faith persons who may incidentally, without any intent, find themselves involved in an illegal scheme. We therefore recommend checking counterparties (through KYC procedures) even more carefully than is currently the case, monitoring ongoing transactions and analysing the subject matter of upcoming negotiations.
If you have any questions on this eAlert, do not hesitate to contact CMS Russia experts Sergey Yuryev, Mikhail Ivannikov or your regular contact at CMS Russia.
* In Russian