Criminal proceedings cannot be commenced more than 6 years from the date on which the corruption or influence peddling offense was committed. However, in practice, the applicable limitation period is usually longer since:
- The statute of limitations is tolled by (i) acts of the Public Prosecutor or of the civil parties that lead to the initiation of a public prosecution, (ii) investigative actions by the Public Prosecutor for seeking and prosecuting the perpetrators of the offense, (iii) formally recorded investigative actions by police officers or authorized persons for the same purpose, and (iv) investigative actions ordered by an investigative authority for the same purpose;
- The starting point of the limitation period is postponed each time the corruption scheme or agreement is performed or renewed (e.g., when multiple kickbacks are successively paid); or
- Where the existence of the offense was actively concealed by those who committed it (“concealed offenses”), which is often true for corruption-related offenses, the 6-year limitation period starts running from the date on which the offense was discovered and established in conditions that allow a public prosecution to be initiated or exercised, provided, however, that the resulting total limitation period is capped at 12 years.