Intermediation in commercial bribery

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Intermediation in commercial bribery - a short story in the legislation, the Criminal Code, she first came in 2016 in the wake of strengthening the fight against corruption. Not only the transfer of illegal remuneration to a civil servant, but also similar crimes committed in the commercial sphere, has become recognized as a socially dangerous act. The basis for stricter responsibility for assistance in organizing commercial bribery was the signing by Russia of international conventions on the fight against corruption, which oblige to punish the intermediary.

The essence of the norm

A prerequisite for the emergence of Art. 204.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation was the adoption of a new edition of Art. 291, which deals with cases where a bribe to a business official, which is considered commercial bribery, is transferred through an intermediary. Before the amendments were made to the legislation, the activity of a mediator was seen as aiding, complicity, after that it began to be considered as an independent crime committed against the interests of a commercial organization. This is due to the fact that a class of criminals of a certain type has formed in the country, offering to resolve issues at any level, for example, when winning a tender or when hiring a large company. For them, it became necessary to create a separate type of crime, for which a relapse is possible and stricter liability specifically for mediation in organizing commercial bribery.

The disposition, or conditions under which the prosecution for commercial bribery is carried out, for Article 204.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation is as follows:

  • the transfer of illegal remuneration between the participants in the crime (bribe-giver and bribe-taker) occurs through the mediation of a third party;
  • this is done on behalf of the bribe giver;
  • direct transfer of bribery can be expressed in any other form of assistance in transferring rewards, for example, by providing your bitcoin wallet.

Sanctions or punishment under this article depend on the gravity and corpus delicti of the crime committed:

  • if commercial bribery occurs in a standard situation, the maximum penalty will be 2 years in prison;
  • if the intermediaries in commercial bribery acted in a group or realized that the result of the bribe should be a blatant violation of the law, or if the bribe was transferred on a large scale, you can lose your freedom for up to 5 years;
  • if in a particularly large - for up to 7 years.

Part 4 of Article 204.1 speaks of an unfulfilled promise of mediation in commercial bribery. The sanctions under this norm also range from a small fine to imprisonment for up to 4 years. A crime is always committed with the intent to transfer a reward, and the composition is considered completed at the time of receipt of material benefits by an official of a commercial organization.

How to prove mediation in commercial bribery

The easiest situation for the investigator will be when a commercial intermediary will voluntarily appear in law enforcement agencies and help solve the crime. An intermediary in a commercial bribery will be released from criminal liability, and the investigation will have an evidence base. So, in case 2-2010 / 2019 of the Perm Regional Court, the briber tried to bribe one of the employees of the oil company in order to obtain information about the oil pipeline for further insertion into it. The intermediary, having received an envelope with money for transfer to an official of a commercial organization, notified the police and was released from liability.

But the current practice of transferring bribes in commercial activities using the capabilities of the digital world does not often reveal complex cross-border transfers of funds and intermediaries. Simple cases are revealed, for example, systematic bribery of the head of driver training courses. In those cases when an official is suspected of commercial bribery, they begin to wiretap his negotiations, carry out other operational-search actions, collect material both on the intermediary and the systematic bribe taker.

Commercial bribery mediation rarely occurs in judicial practice, and many cases are still pending. This suggests that digitalization of crimes often reduces their detection rate.