Criminal Aspects of Anticorruption and Bribery laws in Serbia

May 29, 2020

Criminal Aspects of Anticorruption and Bribery laws in Serbia

May 29, 2020

Milan Samardžić

Milan Samardžić

Partner

Katarina Aškić

Katarina Aškić

Junior Associate

As a negative social phenomenon, corruption is present everywhere in the world and is often the topic of legal, sociological, political and philosophical debates. One of the most comprehensive definitions of corruption was offered by the economist Vito Tanci, who believes that corruption exists if there is a deliberate violation of the principle of impartiality in decision-making in order to gain some benefit.

On the other side, in the Republic of Serbia, “corruption” is defined by the Corruption Prevention Act, as abuse of office or social status and influence, in the public or private sector, with the aim of acquiring personal benefits for oneself or another.

The institutional framework for fighting corruption consists of several competent bodies such as Anti-Corruption Council, Ombudsman of Citizens, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, as well as various non-governmental organizations.  The two most important state authorities are the Anti-Corruption Agency and Public prosecutor.

By the Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia (“Code”), criminal acts, which are by definition synonyms for corruption, are defined as giving of a bribe and soliciting and accepting bribes. The Code distinguishes several types, which may differ from each other according to actions in connection with the type of bribe accepted or given.

  • soliciting and accepting bribes – we can distinguish among (i) accepting a bribe in order to perform an illegal official action, (ii) accepting a bribe in order to perform a legal official action, and (iii) accepting a bribe after performing an official action. The maximum penalty for soliciting and accepting bribes is 12 years in prison for the official.
  • giving of a bribe – we can distinguish when (i) an official is given, offered or promised a gift or other kind of benefit/compensation in return to commit an illegal act, (ii) an official is required to perform a lawful act, (iii) an official mediate in giving a bribe, which means any act by which another person is involved in actions of promising, offering or handing gifts or any other kind of benefit. The maximum penalty for giving a bribe is 5 years in prison for an individual.

Additionally, abovementioned acts can be done by the legal entities in the course of business activity, which can be sanctioned, as follows:

  • the maximum penalty for giving a bribe is a monetary fine up ranging between RSD 1 and 2 million;
  • the maximum penalty for soliciting and accepting bribes is a monetary fine up to approx. RSD 5-10 million;
  • forced winding up of the legal entity – if the business activity of the legal entity in its entirety or in significant part was in the function of committing criminal acts.

Common to all these forms is acquiring gifts (it can be any property value, i.e. it does not have to be money, but can also be a valuable painting) or other benefits (e.g. promotion, unjustified receipt of credit funds), or in accepting or making promises of gifts or other benefits. Naturally, an accepted or a given bribe will be expropriated.

In practice, these criminal acts are very difficult to prove and the reason for that should be sought in the legislator’s determination to sanction both the recipient and the person who offers a bribe.

 

This text is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Should you require any additional information, feel free to contact us.

 

Contact:

Milan Samardžić , Partner
milan.samardzic@sog.rs

Katarina Aškić, Junior Associate
katarina.askic@sog.rs

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