Contributed by Dolea & Co.
1. Legal Framework
1.1. What is the legal framework for bribery and corruption in your jurisdiction?
The main normative acts governing the bribery and corruption in the Republic of Moldova are
- Criminal Code no. 985 of April 18. 2002, (Criminal Code);
- Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Moldova no. 122 of March 14, 2003, (Criminal Procedure Code);
- Contravention Code of the Republic of Moldova no. 218 of October 24, 2008 (Contravention Code);
- Law no.325 of December 23, 2013, on institutional integrity assessment (Law 325/2013);
- Law no.82 of May 25, 2017, on integrity (Law 82/2017);
- Law no.122 of July 12, 2018, on integrity whistleblowers (Law 122/2018);
- Parliament Decision no. 56 of March 30, 2017, on the adoption of the National Integrity and Anticorruption Strategy for 2017-2023 years (National and Integrity and Anticorruption Strategy).
1.2. Which international anti-corruption conventions apply?
The Republic of Moldova ratified the following anti-corruption conventions:
- The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), ratified by the Republic of Moldova by Law no. 158 of July 6, 2007;
- The Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, ratified by the Republic of Moldova through Law no.428-XV of October 30, 2003;
- The Civil Convention on Corruption, ratified by the Republic of Moldova by Law no. 542-XV of December 19, 2003.
1.3. What is the definition of bribery?
Generally, the Criminal Code does not define “bribery” per se. The term bribery is defined in the context of criminal offenses of “taking bribes” and “giving bribes.”
Bribe, within the meaning of Art. 333 and 334 of the Criminal Code, means illicit remuneration, which should not belong to the bribed person, given to perform or not to perform, to delay or expedite the performance of an action in the performance of its function or against it either in a sporting event or at a betting event. According to Art. 333 of the Criminal Code (taking bribe) illicit remuneration is expressed by “goods, services, privileges, or advantages in any form, […], offers, or promises.” According to Art. 334 of the Criminal Code (giving bribe), the illicit remuneration refers to “goods, services, privileges, or advantages in any form.” In the nutshell, these criminal offenses have the object of illicit remuneration expressed in goods, services, privileges, or advantages in any form, which should not belong to the bribed person.
The decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Justice regarding the application of the legislation regarding the criminal liability for corruption offenses no. 11 as of December 22, 2014, defines each of the terms mentioned above. In particular:
- Illegal remuneration in the form of goods is to be interpreted in accordance with the Civil Code (the version in force before March 1, 2019). Thus, goods are all things susceptible to an individual or collective rapprochement and patrimonial rights. Things are tangible objects in relation to which may be civil rights and obligations. Therefore, the term good also refers to objects, as well as to patrimonial rights.
- Illegal remuneration in the form of services involves activities other than those which create products, performed in order to meet the needs of the corrupted person or a person close to him. The category of services as illicit remuneration refers to transport, tourism, insurance, communication, training, legal services, medical assistance, advertising, etc.
- Illegal remuneration in the form of privileges implies an exemption from obligations (to the state) or, as the case may be, the offering of rights or social distinctions that are granted in special situations.
- Illegal remuneration in the form of advantages is a benefit, a favor having a patrimonial or non-patrimonial nature, which improperly improves the situation compared to which the corrupt person had had before committing the crime. Undue benefits can be materialized or immaterialized, consisting of prizes, vacations, interest-free loans, accelerated treatment of a patient, better career prospects, etc.
- Illegal remuneration in the form of offers lies in the proposal of goods, services, privileges, or advantages, in any form.
- Illegal remuneration in the form of promises represents the undertaking of the obligation to give goods, to offer services, privileges, or advantages, in any form.
1.4. Is private sector bribery covered by law? If yes, what is the relevant legislation?
Regulations on preventing and combating corruption in the private sector can be found in Arts. 334 and 335 of the Criminal Code.
According to Art. 44 of the Law no. 82/2017, the acts of corruption in the private sector are: giving the bribery; taking the bribery; receiving an illicit remuneration for conducting the works related to serving the population; handling an event; arranged bets; illegal financing of political parties or electoral campaigns, violation of the management of the financial means of political parties or electoral funds; embezzlement of funds from external funds; misuse of funds from internal loans or external funds; the use of undeclared, non-compliant or foreign funds to finance political parties. These acts form the content of the phenomenon of corruption in the private sector. Also, it is important to point out that the offenses provided in Art. 333 and Art. 334 of the Criminal Code constitute acts of corruption in the private sector.
However, some of the facts listed above may also form the content of the phenomenon of corruption in the public sector. This is the case where the subject of the act of corruption uses the function within the public entity, contrary to the law, in private interest. Such ambivalence of the act of corruption is possible in the case of receiving illicit remuneration for the performance of work-related to serving the population; handling an event; arranged bets; illegal financing of political parties or election campaigns; embezzlement of funds from external sources; use against funds intended for internal loans or external funds.
1.5. What is the definition of a public official and a foreign public official? Are employees at state-owned or state-controlled enterprises treated differently? Are there official lists of public officials, offices, or state-owned or state-controlled enterprises?
According to Art. 123 of the Criminal Code, a public person/official, is a civil/public servant, including a civil servant with special status (collaborator of the diplomatic service, customs, defense, national security and public order, another person holding special or military ranks); an employee of autonomous or regulatory public authorities, of the state or municipal enterprises, or of other legal persons of public law; an employee in the office of persons with positions of public dignity; a person authorized or invested by the state to provide public services on its behalf or to carry out activities of public interest.
According to Art. 2 of Law 158/2008 on the civil service and the status of the civil servant, a civil servant is a natural person appointed to a public office. The unique classifier of public positions was approved by Law 155/2011 for the approval of the Single Classifier of public positions. Therefore, the term civil/public servant forms part of the term public person/official, mentioned in Art. 324 (1) of the Criminal Code.
A foreign public person/official means any person, appointed or elected, who holds a legislative, executive, administrative, or judicial mandate of a foreign state; a person holding a public office for a foreign state, including a public body or a foreign public enterprise; a person exercising the function of juror within the judicial system of a foreign state.
According to Art. 123 (1) of the Criminal Code, an international official means an official of an international or supranational public organization or any person authorized by such an organization to act on its behalf; a member of a parliamentary assembly of an international or supranational organization; any person exercising judicial functions in an international court, including a person with powers of the registry.
An employee of state enterprises has the status of a public person, according to Art. 123 of the Criminal Code, and not of a civil servant. This category does not fall under the incidence of Law 158/2008 regarding the civil service and the status of the civil servant.
1.6. Are there any regulations on political donations?
According to Art. 26 of Law 294/2007 on political parties, donations made to political parties can be both in cash and in the form of property, goods, free services, or on more favorable terms than the commercial (market) value, payment of goods or services used by the political party.
Donations made by a natural person to one or more political parties throughout a year may not exceed the sum of six average monthly salaries per economy for that year. In the case of Moldovan citizens with income earned abroad, the amount of donations may not exceed three average monthly salaries per economy for that year. In the case of citizens of the Republic of Moldova with the status of persons with public dignity, civil servants, including special status, or employees of public organizations within the meaning of the Law no. 133/2016 on the declaration of wealth and personal interests, the amount of donations may not exceed 10% of their annual income, and, at the same time, may not exceed six average monthly salaries per economy for that year.
Donations made by a legal entity to one or more political parties throughout a year may not exceed the sum of 12 average monthly salaries per economy established for that year.
At the same time, Art. 26(6) of Law 294/2007 on political parties provides that certain categories of persons cannot finance, provide services free of charge, or material support in any form, directly or indirectly to political parties. These are:
- citizens of the Republic of Moldova under the age of 18, in respect of whom there is a measure of judicial protection in the form of guardianship;
- foreign nationals, stateless persons, anonymous persons, or those who donate on behalf of third parties;
- public authorities, organizations, enterprises, public institutions, and other legal entities financed from the public budget or with state capital, unless the provision of services or material support is expressly provided and allowed by law;
- legal entities that, at the date of making the donation, have outstanding debts older than 60 days to the state budget, the state social insurance budget, or the compulsory health insurance fund;
- legal entities that, in the last three years, have concluded public procurement contracts for works, goods, or services within the meaning of Law no. 131/2015 on public procurement;
- legal entities with foreign or mixed capital, legal entities from abroad;
- other states and international organizations, including international political organizations; and
- non-profit, trade union, charitable, or religious organizations.
1.7. Are there any defenses available?
Generally, all procedural defenses available in criminal procedures for all suspected or accused persons, are available for those suspected or accused of bribery or corruption offenses as well. There are a number of procedural tools available to suspected or accused persons throughout the criminal procedure, including at the phase of criminal investigation, trial, and post-trial phase.
With respect to particular aspects related to corruption or bribery offenses, please see Sections 5.5. and 5.6.
1.8. Is there an exemption for facilitation payments?
There is no exemption for facilitation payments and they are treated as bribes.
1.9. What are the criminal sanctions for bribery? Are there any civil and administrative sanctions related to bribery cases?
For certain criminal offenses the law provides fines expressed in conventional units. According to Art. 64 of the Criminal Code, one conventional unit is 50 MDL.
The sanctions for the passive corruption, provided by Art. 324 of the Criminal Code, are imprisonment (up to 15 years), fine (up to 10,000 conventional units) and deprivation of the right to hold certain public positions or to exercise a certain activity (for a term of up to 15 years). Actions committed in proportions not exceeding 100 conventional units, shall be punished by a fine in the amount of 1,000 to 2,000 conventional units and by deprivation of the right to hold certain public positions or to exercise a certain activity for a term of up to five years.
The sanctions for active corruption, provided by Art. 325 of the Criminal Code are imprisonment (up to 12 years) and fine (up to 8,000 conventional units), and for legal entities – fine (up to 18,000 conventional units) and deprivation of the right to exercise a certain activity or its liquidation.
The sanctions for taking a bribe, provided by Art. 333 of the Criminal Code, are a fine (up to 6,350 conventional units) or imprisonment (up to 10 years), in both cases with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or to exercise a certain activity (for a term of up to seven years); for the crime of giving a bribe, provided by Art. 334 of the Criminal Code, the sanctions are a fine (up to 8,350 conventional units) or imprisonment (up to seven years), and for legal entities – a fine (up to 15,000 conventional units), with deprivation of the right to exercise a certain activity or its liquidation.
From a civil liability perspective, the taken decisions, concluded contracts, other actions, or any clause of a contract of which the object constitutes an act of corruption or an act connected with acts of corruption is null and void.
Any party to the contract whose consent has been vitiated by an act of corruption or an act connected with acts of corruption may claim, in the manner established by law, the nullity of the contract, without prejudice to its right to compensation.
In accordance with Art. 47 of Law 82/2017, the person who has suffered damage as a result of an act of corruption or an act connected with acts of corruption has the right to compensation for such damage in accordance with the provisions of criminal, contravention or, as the case may be, civil law. Also, the person who suffered a damage resulting from an act provided in Arts. 256, 324–335 of the Criminal Code has the right, within the criminal process, to request reparation of damages in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If the person did not request the initiation of civil action in the criminal proceedings, the reparation of the damage takes place according to the provisions of the Civil Code.
1.10. Does the national bribery and corruption law apply beyond national boundaries?
Moldovan bribery and corruption law applies only to the territory of the Republic of Moldova. In accordance with Art. 11 of the Criminal Code, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova and stateless persons permanently resident in the territory of the Republic of Moldova who have committed crimes outside the territory of the country may be liable in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Code.
Foreign citizens and stateless persons who do not permanently reside in the territory of the Republic of Moldova and have committed crimes outside the territory of the country are criminally liable according to the Criminal Code and are prosecuted in the territory of the Republic of Moldova. the rights and freedoms of the citizen of the Republic of Moldova, against the peace and security of mankind or constitute war crimes, as well as for the crimes provided by the international treaties to which the Republic of Moldova is a party if they have not been convicted in a foreign state.
A person who has committed a crime on a sea vessel or airplane, registered in a port or airport of the Republic of Moldova and outside the maritime zone or airspace of the Republic of Moldova, may be subject to criminal liability in accordance with the Criminal Code if in international treaties to which the Republic of Moldova is a party is not otherwise provided.
Persons who have committed crimes on board a sea military vessel or air military plane belonging to the Republic of Moldova, regardless of their location, are subject to criminal liability in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Code.
1.11. What are the limitation periods for bribery offenses?
The following limitation periods for bribery offenses are five, 15, and 20 years depending on the gravity of the accusations:
- five years for offenses provided in Art. 333, para. (1), 334, para. (1), (2) of the Criminal Code
- 15 years for offenses provided in Art. 324, para. (1) and (2), Art. 325, para. (1), (2), (3), Art. 333, para. (2) and (3), Art. 334, para. (3) of the Criminal Code
- 20 years for the offenses provided in Art. 324, para. (3) of the Criminal Code
The statute of limitations for criminal prosecution is reduced by half for persons who were minors at the time of committing the crime.
The prescription will be interrupted if, until the expiration of the terms provided above, the person will commit an offense for which, according to the Criminal Code, the penalty of imprisonment for a term of more than two years can be applied. The calculation of the prescription, in this case, starts from the moment of committing a new crime.
In accordance with Art. 60 of the Criminal Code, the prescription is suspended if the person who committed the crime evades the criminal investigation or the trial. In these cases, the prescription is resumed from the moment the person is detained or from the moment of self-denunciation.
1.12. Are there any planned amendments or developments to the national bribery and corruption law?
Currently, the Moldovan President proposed the adjustment of the legal framework regarding the extensive confiscation of the assets gained through corruption. The initiative was sent to the Parliament on February 1, 2022. One of the proposals refers to the modification of Art. 106 (1) of the Criminal Code, which refers to extended confiscation, to be supplemented by two new paragraphs. One of them provides that extended confiscation may be ordered even if the person accused or suspected of committing an offense died or in the case of trial in the absence of the defendant when he hides from appearing in court. The second paragraph provides extended confiscation may also be ordered on the assets transferred to third parties if they knew or should have known that the purpose of the transfer was to avoid confiscation.
2. Gifts and Hospitality
2.1. How are gifts and hospitality treated?
The legal regime of gifts is regulated by the Integrity Law no. 82 of May 25, 2017, Law no. 25 of February 22, 2008, on the Code of Conduct of the civil servant, and the Government Decision no. 116 of February 26, 2020, regarding the legal regime of gifts.
2.2. Does the law give any specific guidance on gifts and hospitality in the public and private sectors?
A civil servant is prohibited from soliciting or accepting gifts, services, favors, invitations, or any other advantage intended for his/her staff or family if their offering or giving is directly or indirectly related to the performance of his/her duties.
According to Art. 11 of Law 25/2008, if a public servant is offered a gift, service, favor, invitation, or any other undue advantage, he/she must immediately notify his superior and take the necessary measures to ensure his protection, including:
a) to refuse the gift, service, favor, invitation, or any other undue advantage;
b) to immediately report this attempt to the competent authorities;
c) to perform his/her activity properly, especially the one for which the gift, service, favor, invitation, or any other undue advantage was offered to him
Also, Art. 16 of Law no. 82/2017 stipulates that the heads of public entities and public agents are prohibited from requesting or accepting gifts (goods, services, favors, invitations, or any other advantage) that are intended for them personally or their family if their offering or giving is directly or indirectly related to their professional activity. These gifts are inadmissible gifts.
If a public servant is offered an inadmissible gift under the conditions mentioned above, he/she has the following obligations:
a) to refuse the gift;
b) to provide witnesses, including colleagues, if possible;
c) immediately report this attempt to the responsible anti-corruption authority;
d) to announce the head of the public entity;
e) to send the gift to the head of the public entity in case of offering the gift without his knowledge (left in the office, in the anteroom, etc.);
f) to exercise his professional activity properly, especially the one for which the gift was offered to him or to her.
2.3. Are there limitations on the value of benefits (gifts and hospitality) and/or any other benefit) that may be given to a government/public official? If so, please describe those limitations and their bases?
According to Art.11 of Law 25/2008 and Art. 16 of Law 82/2017, the prohibitions set out in Section 2.2., do not apply to gifts given out of politeness or received on the occasion of protocol actions. These are admissible gifts. According to point 2 of the Governmental Decision 116/2020, the total admitted value of the gifts offered out of politeness or on the occasion protocol actions amount to a maximum of MDL 1,000 (approximately EUR 50), during a calendar year. Money in circulation, in national or foreign currency, with the exception of jubilee and commemorative coins, financial instruments, and other means of payment are not considered eligible gifts.
According to Art. 16 of Law 82/2017, all admissible gifts are declared and entered in a public register, kept by each public entity. Admissible gifts whose value do not exceed the limits set by the Government may be kept by the person who received them or may be transmitted to the management of the public entity, in both cases, after the declaration. Admissible gifts whose value exceeds the established limit are sent to the management of the public entity after they have been declared. If the person announces his intention to keep the admissible gift whose value exceeds the set limit, he/she is entitled to redeem it, paying in the budget of the public entity the difference between the value of the gift and the established limit.
2.4. Are there any defenses or exceptions to the limitations (e.g. reasonable promotional expenses)?
The provisions of the regulation on the legal regime of gifts approved by the Governmental Decision no. 116/2020 do not apply to:
1) medals, decorations, badges, orders, scarves, necklaces and the like received in the exercise of office;
2) office supplies and stationery (data storage products, cloth bags, diaries, notepads, notebooks and notebooks in various forms, folders, pencils, pens, markers, and other similar objects) received by public agencies on the occasion of their participation in training seminars, conferences, round tables, and other similar events;
3) perishable products;
4) gifts received by public agencies in the form of benefits or discounts on the purchase of goods and services provided to a wide range of people, the general public, or an entire clientele;
5) expenses paid by a local or foreign non-profit organization, a foreign or local public entity for attending a conference, study visit, research mission, or any other meeting in the interest of the service.
3. Anti-corruption compliance
3.1. Are companies required to have anti-corruption compliance procedures in place?
According to Art. 37(1) d) of Law 82/2017, one of the ways to ensure a climate of integrity in the business environment is achieved by respecting the rules of business ethics. According to Art. 39 of the same law, the codes of ethics in the private sector establish the principles and rules that govern the managerial processes and the correct conduct in business. Business ethics presupposes the respect of the interests of the commercial organization, as well as of the partners, consumers, and society as a whole, being forbidden to provoke the damages of the competitors, which do not fall within the limits of the competition legislation. The codes of ethics are adopted at the level of professional associations of the business environment, being taken over and developed at the level of the commercial organization in accordance with the provisions of the legislation of the Republic of Moldova and the principles of international business, established by the international codes of business ethics.
3.2. Is there any official guidance on anti-corruption compliance?
Chapter V of Law 82/2017 regulates the aspects related to the implementation of integrity in the private sector. In addition, a number of state institutions and private entities have adopted internal anti-corruption regulations and guides.
3.3. Does the law protect whistleblowers reporting bribery and corruption allegations?
- The Law no. 122 of July 12, 2018, on integrity whistleblowers (Law 122/2018)
- Governmental Decision no. 23 of January 22, 2020, for the approval of the Regulation on the procedures for examination and internal reporting of disclosures of illegal practices (GD 23/2020)
According to Art. 3 of Law 122/2018, an integrity whistleblower is an employee who discloses in good faith an illegal practice that constitutes a threat or an injury brought to the public interest. The manifestation of corruption forms part of such illegal practice. According to Art. 14 of Law 122/2018, a whistleblower benefits from the following guarantees:
a) his/her transfer or that of the person who undertakes revenge actions, during the examination of the application for granting protection, in another subdivision of the public or private entity in which he/she operates, maintaining the specificity of activity, and in its absence – in a subdivision that carries out a related activity, in order to exclude or limit the influence of the person who took revenge in connection with the integrity warning or the disclosure of illegal practices;
b) the sanctioning of the person who took revenge in connection with the warning of integrity or the disclosure of illegal practices or, as the case may be, of the head of the public or private entity for not ensuring the protection measures;
c) the annulment of the disciplinary sanction, ascertained by the employer or, as the case may be, by the administrative contentious court, which was applied to the employee as a result of a disclosure in the public interest made in good faith; and
d) compensation for material and moral damages suffered as a result of revenge.
The whistleblower subject to retaliation is entitled to submit a written request to the protection authorities to request the application of the above guarantees.
In order to fall under the protection regime, an employee must meet the following conditions:
a) to be recognized as an integrity warning under the conditions of Art. 11 of Law 122/2018 or have made a public disclosure of illegal practices;
b) to be subject to revenge; and
c) there is a causal link between the disclosure of the illegal practices and the alleged revenge.
In accordance with Art. 15 of Law 122/2018, the protection authority shall, as a matter of priority, examine, within 15 days at the latest, the request for the protection of the whistleblower, after which it shall inform the whistleblower of the satisfaction of his request or of the reasons for the refusal.
The whistleblower protection authorities are the employer (in case of internal disclosures of illegal practices) and the People’s Advocate (in case of external and public disclosures of illegal practices).
4. Corporate criminal liability
4.1. Can corporate entities be held liable for bribery and corruption? If so, what is the nature and scope of such liability?
Legal entities may be subject to the criminal offenses of active corruption (Art. 325 of the Criminal Code), and bribery (Art. 334 of the Criminal Code).
According to Art. 21, para. (3) of the Criminal Code, a legal entity, with the exception of public authorities, is criminally liable for an act provided by the criminal law if it has not fulfilled or improperly fulfilled the direct provisions of the law which establish duties or prohibitions regarding the performance of a certain activity, and at least one of the following circumstances is found:
a) the act was committed in the interest of the respective legal person by a natural person empowered with management functions, who acted independently or as part of a body of the legal person;
b) the act was admitted or authorized, or approved, or used by the person empowered with management functions;
c) the act was committed due to the lack of supervision and control on the part of the person empowered with management functions.
Generally, bribery offenses are often committed in the interests of legal persons. The complex structure of corporate governance and the process of collective decision-making within legal entities complicate the discovery and prosecution of these crimes. People who commit and incite to commit such crimes can hide behind a “corporate veil” and avoid liability. In addition, the individual liability of officials of a legal person is not an effective means of preventing corporate offenses. From these reflections, it can be deduced that, in the case of bribery, criminal liability of the legal person is justified.
4.2. Can a company be liable for bribery offenses committed by an entity controlled or owned by it? Are there requirements for the parent to avoid liability in these situations?
If the requirements provided in Art. 21 of the Criminal Code are met then the company can be liable.
In particular, a legal person, with the exception of public authorities, is liable to criminal liability for an act provided by the criminal law if it has not complied or has not properly complied with the direct provisions of the law establishing duties or prohibitions at least one of the following circumstances:
a) the act was committed in the interest of the respective legal person by a natural person empowered with management functions, who acted independently or as part of a body of the legal person;
b) the deed was admitted or authorized, or approved, or used by the person empowered with management functions;
c) the deed was committed due to the lack of supervision and control on the part of the person empowered with management functions.
A natural person is considered to be empowered with management functions if he has at least one of the following functions:
a) representation of the legal person;
b) making decisions on behalf of the legal entity; or
c) to exercise control within the legal person.
4.3. Can a company be liable for corrupt actions of a third-party agent engaged to help it obtain or retain business or a business advantage (such as government or regulatory actions or approvals)? If so, are there measures recognized in law, enforcement, or regulatory guidance to mitigate this liability?
If until the crime is realized the agent promised the result for a remuneration, then the company can be liable as an accomplice to the crime. If, after the agent accomplishes the result, the agent is remunerated, then this would not be qualified as a corrupt action.
4.4. What are the sanctions for the corporate criminal entity?
For active corruption, Art. 325 of the Criminal Code provides, for the legal entity, a sanction in the form of a fine from 6,000 to 18,000 conventional units, with deprivation of the right to exercise a certain activity or with its liquidation.
For bribery, Art. 334 of the Criminal Code provides, for the legal entity, a sanction in the form of a fine from 5,000 to 15,000 conventional units, with deprivation of the right to exercise a certain activity or with its liquidation.
5. Criminal proceedings into bribery and corruption cases
5.1. What authorities can prosecute corruption crimes?
In accordance with Art. 43 of Law 83/2017, the responsibility for ascertaining and examining the manifestations of corruption rests with the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, the National Anticorruption Center, the National Integrity Authority, and the bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Contravention Code.
In accordance with Art. 270 (1) (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office conducts the criminal investigation in the cases in which the criminal investigation is carried out by the criminal investigation body of the National Anticorruption Center.
5.2. Is there a legal obligation to report bribery and corruption cases? If so, to whom does it apply and what are the sanctions for failing to meet such an obligation?
According to Art. 5 of Law 122/2018, employees have the right to submit disclosures of illegal practices, to be recognized as whistleblowers of integrity, and to benefit from protection under the conditions provided by this law. By way of derogation from this provision, employees who have the quality of public agents, in case of inappropriate influences exerted on them, as well as other attempts to involve them in manifestations of corruption within the meaning of Integrity Law no. 82/2017 and Law no. 325/2013 on the assessment of institutional integrity, are obliged to report them. If they are not involved as witnesses and/or injured parties in criminal proceedings, public officials who have reported undue influence or other attempts to involve them in corruption may be recognized as whistleblowers and may be protected under the conditions of the law.
Also, according to Art. 16 of Law no. 82/2017, if a public agent is offered an inadmissible gift, he/she has the obligation to immediately report this attempt to the responsible anti-corruption authority.
According to Art. 11 of Law no. 25/2008, if a civil servant is offered a gift, service, favor, invitation, or any other undue advantage, he/she must immediately notify his/her superior of this fact and take the necessary measures to ensure his protection, including immediately reporting this attempt to the competent authorities. Violation of this provision constitutes a disciplinary violation to which the provisions of the legislation on the civil service and the status of the civil servant apply.
5.3. Is there any civil or administrative enforcement against corruption crimes?
Please see Section 1.9.
A person who suffered a damage resulting from an act provided in Arts. 256, 324–335 (1) of the Criminal Code has the right, within the process, to repair the material and/or moral damage in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If the person did not request the initiation of civil action in the criminal proceedings, the reparation of the damage takes place according to the provisions of the Civil Code. If the person has suffered a damage resulting from a deed provided in Art. 312–330 (1) of the Contravention Code, the competent authority is entitled, at the request of the victim, to order the reparation of the damage caused by the contravention in case there are no differences in its scope.
After repairing the damage from the respective budget, the defendant is obliged to file a recourse action against the guilty person in the amount of the compensation paid. A person who has suffered damage as a result of an act of corruption or an act connected with acts of corruption, committed by public bodies, electoral participants, and their trusted persons, is entitled to claim compensation from the public entity whose public agent committed the act of corruption or the related act.
The Ministry of Justice or, as the case may be, the prosecutor will file a recourse action against the person who committed the act of corruption or the act related to the acts of corruption if the compensating authorities have not fulfilled their obligations.
5.4. What powers do the authorities have generally to gather information when investigating corruption crimes?
In accordance with Art. 49 of Law no. 82/2017, the responsible anti-corruption authorities are vested, according to the established competencies, with the following attributions for investigating acts of corruption and their related acts:
- carrying out special investigative measures;
- carrying out the criminal investigation;
- application of procedural measures of coercion, security, and other security measures;
- ensuring confidentiality in criminal proceedings;
- the application of state protection measures to ensure the security of the participants in the process and of other persons, including those who bring to the attention of the competent bodies or superiors the possible commission of acts of corruption, their related acts, or corrupt acts;
- the application of the measures to remove the conditions that contributed to the commission of the crimes and other violations of the legislation, the undertaking of the actions for reparation of the damage;
- exercising international legal assistance.
The attributions provided above are exercised insofar as they comply with the Constitution, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the legislation on the special activity of investigations, and the special laws governing the activity of the responsible anti-corruption authorities.
For particular categories of public officials (e.g. members of the parliament), lifting of immunity is needed in order to perform the criminal investigation against them. The same applies when the suspected person is an attorney at law.
5.5. Is there any form of leniency law in your jurisdiction, allowing a party to a bribery or corruption crime to voluntarily confess to the crime in exchange for a release from liability or reduction of the penalty?
According to Art. 325 (4) of the Criminal Code, a person who promised, offered, or gave goods or services listed in Art. 324 is released from criminal liability if: a) they were extorted or b) if the person has denounced himself/herself, not knowing that the criminal investigation bodies are aware of the crime he/she has committed.
According to Art. 334 para. (4) of the Criminal Code, a person who gave a bribe is released from criminal liability if 1) the bribe was extorted; 2) the bribe-taker denounced himself not knowing that the criminal investigation bodies are aware of the crime committed by him/her.
For self-denunciation, in order to operate the provision from Art. 325 para. (4) or from Art. 334, para. (4) CP, it is necessary to meet the conditions established in Art. 264 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. According to this article, self-denunciation is the voluntary notification made by a natural or legal person about the commission of a crime in case the criminal prosecution bodies are not aware of this fact. The declaration of self-denunciation is made in writing or orally. If the self-denunciation is made orally, a report on it shall be drawn up under the conditions of Art. 263 para. (5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, with the audio or video recording of the self-denunciation declaration.
In accordance with Art. 264 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, to the person who makes a self-denunciation statement, before doing so, is explained the right not to say anything and not to incriminate himself, as well as that in case of self-slander, which prevents the ascertainment of the truth, he will not have the right to reparation. the conditions of the law and this is mentioned in the report on self-denunciation or in the content of the self-denunciation declaration.
5.6. Can a person plea bargain in corruption cases? If so, how is such a process conducted?
The procedure regarding a plea agreement is regulated in Art. 504 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The conclusion of a plea agreement is possible in the case of corruption offenses. According to Art. 504 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a plea agreement shall be drawn up in writing, with the obligatory participation of the defense counsel, the accused, or the defendant in case of all offenses provided in the Special Part of the Criminal Code, except for the offenses provided in Art. 135 and 135 (1) of the Criminal Code.
The court is obliged to ascertain whether the plea agreement was concluded in accordance with the law, voluntarily, with the participation of the defense counsel, and whether there is sufficient evidence to confirm the conviction. Depending on these circumstances, the court may or may not accept the plea agreement.
A plea agreement may be initiated by both the prosecutor and the accused, the defendant, and his/her defense counsel and may be concluded at any time after the indictment until the commencement of the judicial investigation.
If the court is convinced of the truthfulness of the defendant’s answers at the hearing and concludes that the defendant’s guilt is made freely, voluntarily, consciously, without pressure or fear, it accepts the plea agreement and admits the factual basis of the crime in connection with which the defendant pleads guilty. Otherwise, the decision on the refusal to accept the plea agreement may be challenged by the parties who signed the plea agreement within 24 hours, of which they make a statement as soon as the decision is made.
In accordance with Art. 509 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, when establishing the punishment in case of accepting the plea agreement, its individualization is carried out based on the punishment limits provided by the criminal law for the respective crime, reduced (by one-third of the maximum punishment) under the conditions of Art. 80 of the Criminal Code, applicable to the provisions of Arts. 75-79 of the Criminal Code.
Also, in case the suspected person pleas bargain in a corruption case, a simplified trial procedure may be applied, in accordance with Art. 364 (1).of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Under this procedure, until the beginning of the judicial investigation, the defendant may declare, personally in an authentic document, that he/she acknowledges the commission of the facts indicated in the indictment and requests that the trial be conducted on the basis of evidence administered in the criminal investigation phase. The trial may not take place on the basis of the evidence administered in the criminal investigation phase unless the defendant declares that he/she fully acknowledges the facts indicated in the indictment and does not request the administration of new evidence. During the preliminary hearing or before the beginning of the judicial investigation, the court asks the defendant if he/she requests that the trial take place on the basis of the evidence administered in the criminal investigation phase, which he/she knows and on which he has no objections.
The court admits, by a judgment, the request if from the administered evidence results that the facts of the defendant are established and if there are sufficient data.