Any individual who commits or participates in a corruption offense is subject to criminal liability. Depending on the gravity of the crime and other individual factors, penalties range from fines to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.
Separately, the owner of a business (e.g., owner-manager), its statutory representatives (e.g., CEO, management board), and certain other individuals tasked with overseeing compliance within a business or parts thereof (e.g., CCO, country manager) may be subject to administrative fines if the individual intentionally or negligently failed to prevent employees from committing criminal offenses (Section 130 Act on Regulatory Offenses “Ordungswidrigkeitengesetz”, (OWiG)). Those fines may be up to EUR 1 million in case of intentional conduct.
Civil liability for damages caused by the corruption offense is also possible, e.g., a damages claim by a competitor who did not succeed in a rigged tender process. In addition, (former) directors of public companies are increasingly held liable for damages the company suffered in connection with corruption offenses.