The draft Federal Law aims to improve criminal law provisions for preventing corruption-related crimes.
Sentencing practice for corruption-related crimes changed considerably after amendments to anti-corruption laws introduced fines of up to 100 times the sum of the offered bribe or value of the commercial deal in question as the main penalty for bribery and corrupt business practices.
Since 2011, there has been a significant increase in the number of cases in which fines were set as the main penalty for bribery and corrupt commercial deals. In 89 percent of minor cases, fines are the only penalty given.
The lack of other possible penalties for these crimes makes punishment less effective, taking into account the specific circumstances of the crimes in question and the sentenced person’s circumstances, including their financial situation and possibilities for paying the fine.
In cases when judges apply the penalties set by criminal law provisions and impose incommensurably large fines on people who clearly do not have the real possibilities for paying these fines, the principle of unavoidable punishment is not fulfilled and the situation ends up with court bailiffs appealing to the courts to substitute prison terms for fines.
Analysis of legal practice shows that paying lower fines achieves the desired punishment effect in minor corruption cases and at the same time considerably increases the likelihood that the fine will actually be paid.
The problem of making sure that fines are actually paid could also be resolved by stepping up efforts during the investigation phase to track down property and assets belonging to the accused person and ensuring timely seizure of these assets.
The draft Federal Law proposes amendments to certain legislative provisions concerning the size of fines imposed for minor corruption-related crimes, adds to these provisions the possibility of setting other types of criminal penalties, makes it possible to seize an accused person’s assets, and sets deadlines for voluntary payment of fines.
Adopting this Federal Law will make enforcement of criminal penalties in the form of fines more effective and achieve the aim of punishing those found guilty of corruption-related crimes.