The penalties attached to bribery offenses in Italy are different and depend on the nature of the offense. The penalties set out below may be increased due to aggravating circumstances.

 

Article

Offense

Imprisonment

Monetary fine for companies

Disqualifying sanction for companies

318 of Criminal Code

Bribery for the performance of a public function

From 3 to 8 years

Up to EUR 309,800

N/A

319 of Criminal Code

Bribery for an act contrary to public duties

From 6 to 10 years1

Up to EUR 1,239,200

Applicable

319-ter of Criminal Code

Bribery in judicial proceedings

From 6 to 12 years2

Up to EUR 1,239,200

Applicable

319-quater of Criminal Code

Unlawful inducement to give or promise anything of value

From 6 to 10 years and 6 months3

Up to EUR 1,239,200

Applicable

320 of Criminal Code

Bribery of a person in charge of a public service

Same as Articles 318 and 319, reduced by a maximum of one third

Up to EUR 1,239,200

N/A

321 of Criminal Code

Active Bribery

 

Same as Articles 318, 319-ter, 320

Same as Articles 318, 319, 319-ter and 320

Applicable

322 of Criminal Code

Instigation to bribery

Same as Article 318 and 319, reduced by one third

  • Up to EUR 309,800 where the offense is committed pursuant to paragraphs 1 and 3
  • Up to EUR 929,400 where the offense is committed pursuant to paragraphs 2 or 4

 

Applicable where the offense is committed pursuant to paragraphs 2 or 4

322-bis of the Criminal Code

Bribery of foreign public officials

Same as Articles 319-quater, paragraph 2, 320, 321, 322

Up to EUR 1,239,200

N/A

2635 of Civil Code

Private-to-private corruption

  • From 1 to 3 years for directors, general managers and executives entrusted with the preparation of the company’s accounting documents, as well as statutory auditors and liquidators;
  • Up to 1 year and six months if the offense is committed by anyone subjected to their direction or supervision of the individuals indicated above

Up to EUR 929,400

Applicable

346-bis of the Criminal Code

Influence peddling

From 1 year to 4 years and 6 months4

Up to EUR 309,800

N/A

 

Disqualifying sanctions

The disqualifying sanctions mentioned above apply to companies which are liable under Decree 231 of 2001 and may consist of the following: (i) a ban on performing the activity; (ii) the suspension or withdrawal of authorizations, licenses or permits enabling the commission of the offense; (iii) a ban on contracting with the public administration, other than to obtain a public service; (iv) the exclusion from concessions, loans, grants and subsidies and possible revocation of those already granted; and (v) a ban on advertising goods or services.

Disqualifying sanctions may last from 3 months to 7 years. The duration and type of disqualifying sanctions are decided on the basis of the company’s business and its connection with the offense committed, and can be applied only if expressly contemplated for the offense in question. Disqualifying sanctions are applicable (i) where a company has realized a significant profit from the offense committed and where the offense was committed by individuals in top management positions or directly or indirectly reporting to them, if the crime resulted from or was facilitated by serious organizational shortcomings or (ii) where the unlawful acts are repeated.5

Decree 231 of 2001 also establishes that the company can be exempted from disqualifying sanctions if it has completely indemnified the offended party, and has implemented an effective Organizational Model.

Precautionary measures

Decree 231 of 2001 provides that, if there is reason to believe: (a) that a company is liable for an offense punishable under Decree 231; and (b) that further offenses of the same kind for which the proceedings have been initiated could be committed, the Prosecutor can request the application – as a precautionary measure – of a disqualifying sanction. The precautionary measure cannot be imposed for more than one year.

 

Confiscation

Article 322-ter of the Criminal Code imposes the confiscation of the “profit” or “price” of the bribery offense in case of conviction.

If a company is found to be liable for the criminal conduct, the confiscation of the price or profit of the offense is always ordered, except for the part thereof which must be returned to any damaged party. The rights acquired by third parties in good faith are safeguarded. If confiscation of the price or profit of the offense is not possible, money or other assets of an equivalent value may be confiscated.


1 Article 319 has been repeatedly modified in recent years, and the punishment for this offense was: (i) imprisonment from two to five years, until 28 November 2012, (ii) imprisonment from four to eight years, from 28 November 2012 to 14 June 2015, and (iii) imprisonment from six to five years, from 14 June 2015. With respect to criminal matters and their sanctioning, the Italian legal framework is based on the the favor rei principle so that when at the time of the conviction a different penalty applies compared to the penalty which applied when the crime was committed, the sentence applies the least serious penalty.

2 Moreover, if the fact gives rise to an unfair conviction of imprisonment for no longer than five years, the punishment shall be from 6 to 14 years of imprisonment; if it gives rise to an unfair conviction to imprisonment for longer than five years or to life imprisonment, the punishment shall be a jail term from 8 to 20 years.

3 Punishment for the bribe-giver is up to three years, or up to four years' imprisonment when the act harms the financial interests of the European Union and the damage or profit exceeds 100,000 euros.

Penalties are increased if the person trading the illegal influence is a public official or a person in charge of a public service, or if trading of illegal influence is committed in relation to judicial proceedings. If acts are particularly immaterial, punishment is be reduced.

5 See Articles 13 and following, Decree 231 of 2001.

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