The new price on corruption
By Vladimir Novikov, RAPSI
The Russian president proposed amendments to the criminal and administrative offense codes to divide bribe takers into four independent groups.
The groups would be divided by the bribe amount.
The first group would be small bribes.
Accepting a bribe equal to 25,000 rubles would entail a penalty equaling 25-50 times the amount or up to three years imprisonment with a penalty 20 times more than the bribe.
The second group would be substantial bribes.
Accepting a bribe from 25,000 to 150,000 rubles would result in penalties equaling 30-60 times the amount or up to six years imprisonment with a penalty 30 times more than the bribe.
The third group would be large bribes.
Accepting bribes from 150,000 to 1 million rubles would result in penalties equaling 40-70 times the amount or three to seven years imprisonment with a penalty 40 times more than the bribe.
The fourth group would be an inordinately large bribe.
Accepting a bribe worth 1 million rubles or more would result in penalties equaling 70 times the amount and eight to 15 years imprisonment. The individual may simply be fined 80-100 million rubles.
The same groups were proposed for bribe givers.
According to the Criminal Code’s updated Article 291, this group of criminals will soon have to pay 15-90 times more than the amount of the initial bribe or spend up to 12 years in jail.
Note for intermediaries
A new article of the Criminal Code (Article 291.1, “Bribery Mediation”) is designed for people who hand over bribes. They are at times called “problem solvers,” as they solve problems by passing along bribes for a pay amounting to a specific percentage of the bribe.
The amendments’ authors word the crime’s new component as “the direct handover of a bribe upon the instructions of the bribe giver or the bribe taker or assisting the bribe taker or the bribe giver in reaching or executing an agreement between them as to take or give the bribe in a large amount.” The punishment for mediation is a penalty equaling 20-40 times the bribe with the deprivation of the right to hold specific positions or engage in specific activities for up to three years or up to five years imprisonment with a penalty equaling 20 times the bribe.”
Mediation for knowingly accepting illegal actions (or inaction) or mediation for a person who misuses his official position may be punished by penalties equaling 30-60 times the bribe or from three to seven years imprisonment and a penalty equaling 30 times the bribe.
The most curious detail in the article is Clause 5.
According to the clause, punishment for promising or proposing to act as a bribery mediator may be penalties equaling 15-70 times the bribe or up to seven years imprisonment (along with a penalty exceeding 10-70 times the bribe). Individuals convicted under this clause will most likely be few, as it is tough to prove the presence of such intentions on the part of the accused during proceedings. That is, of course, if he doesn’t testify against himself.