The corruption law is one part of economic criminal law’s core elements. Legally it is structured into two areas: On the one hand there is bribery or the granting of an undue advantage in order to influence official behaviour and on the other hand there is bribery within commercial practice against a private person in order to reach an advantage within competition among private service providers. In both cases the bribers as well as the bribed are liable to prosecution.
National and international fight against corruption
Corruption is a German Federal as well as an international issue. Within an international as well as European level a number of agreements to fight corruption have been decided. These agreements resulted in legislative changes and – intensifications within Germany as well. Also in 2015 a renewed change of the § 299 StGB is in discussion, with which the international duty of Germany to fight corruption shall be complied by. Further, several states, such as the US or Great Britain, passed national laws to fight corruptive business practices whose legal consequences may also affect German individuals and organizations in case of a contravention.
In practice it can be asserted that the differing corruption facts of the StGB define the prohibited bribing only fuzzily. In practice this leads to significant insecurities. Especially against the background of the growing sensibility in this area, it is difficult to distinguish where, with regards to certain attention, socially accepted and expected courtesy ends and where corruptive behaviour starts. This concerns for instance invitations to cultural- and sport events as well as sponsoring of institutions or events. Also independent promotional measures can go beyond the scope of what is legally permitted.
For organizations it is thus indispensable to examine the business processes for third party attention and, under the consideration of legal requirements and adjudications, establish associated guidelines which illustrate the boundaries of the permitted in practical form to the respective responsible employees. ECKSTEIN & KOLLEGEN accompany such analyses and consult with the establishment of such guidelines.
Equally ECKSTEIN & KOLLEGEN consult and defend organizations and individuals with corruption allegations. Investigations concerning such allegations are regularly discussed within the press and hold the risk for significant legal consequences. Next to the possible slur on the reputation for affected organizations there is also a risks that the affected employees as well as the organization are exposed to sensible significant sanctions themselves, such as business fines or absorption of profits made due to corruptive business deals. Further more and more federal states keep a so called corruption registry, within which observed organizational misconducts are registered. Such records regularly lead to the exclusion of the organization to public contracts and can thus impair the organization’s economic foundation massively.