On 21 March 2019, the Russian general prosecutor's office published the corporate bribery enforcement statistics for 2018. These statistics show enforcement activity on the level of 2017, with a continuous focus on small and mid-scale bribery in the day-to-day operations of Russian companies. The legislator on the other hand intensified its anti-corruption efforts in 2018/2019 – in particular by extending the scope of corporate liability and introducing self-reporting rules for companies. Another trend is that, also in the Russian enforcement practice, the taking of anti-corruption measures by companies is becoming increasingly important. The key developments in the last year can be summarized as follows:
- Throughout 2018, the Russian law enforcement authorities opened 487 investigations against legal entities for bribery. These investigations resulted in the conviction of 439 legal entities according to Article 19.28 of the Russian Administrative Offences Code (Unlawful remuneration on behalf of legal entity). More than 300 legal entities have been added to the public register of offenders.
- Public prosecutors and courts have started to assess whether companies have implemented the anti-corruption measures of Article 13.3 of the Russian Anti-corruption Law when prosecuting them for corporate bribery. However, court practice still gives no guidance on the proper implementation of these measures in order to avoid the company's liability for bribery.
- Ongoing court practice confirms that each organization in Russia is obliged to take the anti-corruption measures of Article 13.3 of the Anti-corruption Law – irrespective of its legal form and size. Supported by the courts, the public prosecutors continued to actively check whether companies actually took these measures.
- In recent years, the number of successful court proceedings against directors to recover penalty payments imposed on the company has been constantly increasing. However, the mere failure to prevent bribery (i.e. failure to implement anti-corruption measures) currently does not suffice to recover penalty payments from the management.
- Legislative changes extended the scope of liability for corporate bribery under Article 19.28 of the Administrative Offences Code. On the other hand, companies can now exclude themselves from this liability by self-reporting to the authorities. Russian courts already have started to actually release companies from liability under these rules.
- In 2018/2019, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) completed investigations for violations of the US FCPA in Uzbekistan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. In contrast to Russian enforcement actions, these cases concerned large-scale bribery and resulted in significant penalty payments.
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