Anti-Corruption Law is Strengthening in Germany

German anti-corruption provisions are contained in the Act to Combat Corruption, the Criminal Code and the Administrative Offences Act (“OWiG”).

The Administrative Offences Act (“OWiG”) is a German law that holds companies with business activities in Germany civilly responsible for domestic or international bribery, money laundering and falsification of books and records. The owners and management can be fined for intentionally or negligently failing to prevent bribery whether the offence is committed by an employee or a third party acting on their behalf. The maximum fine for an offense is EUR 10 million. Under German law, however, corporations can not be charged  as a criminal defendant.

The anti-corruption provisions in the Criminal Code prohibit individuals in the public and private sectors from offering or accepting bribes in return for business. Recipients of the bribes may be German public officials as well as officials abroad. German criminal law applies if the offense was committed on a German vessel or airplane, if the victim or offender is German and if the offense is punishable under applicable local laws. However, unlike domestic violations, German law only applies to offering bribes to foreign officials, not accepting bribes, and for convincing the foreign official to perform an act outside his/her duties. If the benefit was given to the foreign official for performing an act within his/her duties, then it is not punishable under German law. The consequences for violating German Criminal Code may include up to 10 years in prison, a financial penalty and confiscation of the proceeds from the criminal offense.

In 2016, the Act to Combat Corruption strengthened its anti-corruption provisions regarding healthcare professionals. The new provisions prohibit giving bribes to private practitioners including employed and self-employed healthcare professionals even with the employer’s consent. The provision encompasses pharmaceuticals, adjuvants and medical devices. Penalties for violations may include up to 5 years in prison and fines.

Compliance Made Easy

Hiperos 3PM ABAC Accelerator helps companies simplify and streamline compliance with German anti-corruption law by centralizing third party information and workflows, automating and documenting due diligence, assessment and scoring of third parties, managing only third parties posing corruption risks and monitoring risk factors continuously with data directly from leading data providers. All material ABAC issues and actions taken are recorded in a central “book of record” with a verifiable audit trail. Learn more