Commercial bribery statistics
It is not uncommon for Russia to commit corruption-related crimes. One of the common types of violations is commercial bribery, in which bribes are given not to a government official, but to the head of a commercial firm. Statistics on this type of crime show how well law enforcement agencies are at solving the task of detecting and preventing crimes.
It is difficult to find exact figures for commercial bribery cases based on media reports. The portal of judicial statistics provides information for three years - 2016-2018, although an article for this crime appeared in the first edition of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation in 1997, and the data are presented extremely sparingly:
- 2016 - 472 cases were considered, in total 492 people were involved in them. 361 people were convicted. The proportion of convicts out of all the accused was 73%;
- 2017 - 315 cases were considered, in total 312 people were involved in them. 262 people were convicted. The proportion of convicts out of all the accused was 84%;
- 2018 - 273 cases were considered, in total 267 people were accused in them. 208 people were convicted. The proportion of convicts out of all the accused was 77.9%.
The information does not allow making unambiguous conclusions, but two trends are visible:
1. For three years, the number of reviewed cases has been steadily declining. This does not mean an increased sense of justice, but rather indicates that criminals have become more cautious and cases of commercial bribery are less and less often brought to the attention of law enforcement agencies.
2. Low percentage of convicts - 65-66% of 100% participating in the case. For comparison: in cases of robbery, the percentage of convicts reaches 98-99%. It can be assumed that those involved in commercial bribery cases are capable of hiring an experienced lawyer, and the proof in these cases is complicated by the high professional and intellectual level of criminals who are able to disguise their activities.
But if you turn to the data of the portal sudact.ru, which publishes decisions and orders of courts of all levels, and look at the statistics on bribery in the field of commerce, since 2010 (earlier documents were not entered into the database), you can see the following:
- in total, 4,279 documents were added to the database at the beginning of February 2020. Among them are sentences of first instance and rulings to appeal against sentences. The average number of cases considered per year generally coincides with those presented on the portal of judicial statistics. It fluctuates in the range of 350-400 cases per year , taking into account the fact that a number of documents are related to administrative proceedings. 204th Art. The Criminal Code of the Russian Federation during the consideration was re-qualified in Art. 19.28 Administrative Code. But despite the fact that in 2010-2011 only one verdict was passed, already in 2012 493 documents were added to the database;
- 1,031 documents refer to the appellate instance. The defendants try to reconsider a small number of cases, being dissatisfied with the verdict, and the prosecutors do not seek to appeal the verdict. This may indicate that in most cases, the prosecution initially requested minimum terms in exchange for confessions;
- if you examine the regional cut, an interesting unevenness comes to light. In Moscow, over 10 years, a little over 200 cases under Art. 204 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (in the database of 265 documents), in St. Petersburg - 66 documents , in the Belgorod region - 28 documents , in the Astrakhan region - 18 documents , in the Jewish Autonomous Region - 6 documents in the period from 2011 to 2020. In most regions of central and northern Russia, statistics on corruption crimes are in the range of 30-40 cases . The leaders of the rating, apart from Moscow, are the Samara region - 226 cases , Rostov region - 179 , Saratov - 160 , Bashkortostan - 141 , Tatarstan - 123 . In some constituent entities of the Federation, for example, in Ingushetia, there were no cases under this article during the specified period. It is difficult to find any regularity here associated with the real prevalence of crime, rather, in connection with some aspects of regional governance, law enforcement officers focused on corruption-related crimes.
In addition, it is interesting to analyze the data under Art. 19.28 of the Administrative Code on illegal remuneration on behalf of a legal entity and which is a kind of analogue of Art. 204 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, but with a lower level of responsibility. The figures for it are as follows:
- for 2011-2020, 1,325 documents appeared in the database;
- the leaders of the rating remain Moscow and the Saratov region.
The Code of Administrative Offenses is applied four times less often than the 204th Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. But it is interesting because it indirectly introduces the concept of responsibility of a legal entity into Russian legislation. This is required by the norms of the OECD Convention, signed by Russia in 2012. Since this concept is not organically organic to the Russian legal system in principle, the article did not find wide application; they tried to replace it with petty commercial bribery (Article 204.2 of the Criminal Code), but to no avail.
According to Art. 204.2 in the database of judicial acts during the time of its introduction into legislation, only 98 judicial acts were adopted. Also, under Article 204.1 - mediation in the framework of offering bribes to merchants - there are only 58 documents in the database of judicial acts. This indicates that during the introduction of the norm in the Criminal Code, no more than 40 people were convicted under it. The high latency of a crime prevents its investigation and bringing it to trial.
It is difficult to obtain accurate data on the investigation of crimes in the field of business bribery due to the peculiarities of information disclosure in this area, secret investigation, non-digitization of a number of documents and the transfer of some cases to the group of closed ones. At the same time, law enforcement agencies willingly provide information on a typical criminal offering or receiving bribery. Many countries, even members of the OECD Anti-Corruption Convention, practically do not publish data on court cases on the Internet.
But in view of the great public interest in the topic of combating corruption, the General Prosecutor's Office has drawn up a statistical portrait of the Russian corrupt official. This is a respectable citizen between the ages of 30 and 49, usually highly regarded by management. In most cases, he has a higher education, and 70% of bribe-takers are men.
The resulting illegal income is often legalized through consulting or intermediary services. Most corrupt officials strive to minimize the risk of criminal liability, therefore they do not take bribes directly, but through intermediaries. The Prosecutor General's Office does not consider the widespread practice of collecting bribes from company employees as a crime prosecuted under Art. 204 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, since it does not formally fall under the article of the Criminal Code.
Leaders of private business organizations often act as bribe-givers, but sometimes these are people who are not directly related to business structures. Usually this is a man aged 35-55 years, and he has a higher education in 50% of cases. But more often it is a young man under the age of 35. The share of foreigners in investigated corruption crimes does not exceed 5%.
Most of the recipients of bribes, due to the high latency of the crime, leave the field of vision of law enforcement agencies. Therefore, the portrait of a typical bribe-taker proposed by the Prosecutor General's Office is too general. Examining specific cases provides a better understanding of who is being prosecuted.
The statistics on the amount of remuneration attracts attention. In judicial practice, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the average amount for which criminal liability follows is in the range of 1-2 million rubles. It is extremely rare to find awards in the form of real estate or in foreign currency. Out of 4 thousand cases, only 60 contain amounts in dollars, they vary between 6-10 thousand. Larger amounts are out of sight of law enforcement officers.
The statistics on commercial bribery cases give an overview of the real situation. Too many cases either do not reach the court, or remain in the shadows. But it is possible to make a general idea of open information, as well as to understand how the situation is changing as more attention is paid to corruption crimes.