On May 23, 2014, Nazir Karigar was sentenced to three years in
prison for offering to bribe foreign officials contrary to section
3(1)(b) of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act
(CFPOA). This is the first time that an individual convicted under
the CFPOA has been sentenced and the first time that a jail term
has been handed out. This case will stand as a precedent for
sentencing in future corruption cases.
Mr. Karigar was convicted on August 15, 2013 for his role in a
plan to bribe Indian officials, including a government minister.
The case concerned an agreement to pay approximately US$450,000 in
cash as well as certain shares to Air India officials and the
Indian Minister of Civil Aviation to secure a contract for the
provision of facial recognition software and related equipment. At
the material time, Mr. Karigar was acting as a paid agent for
Cryptometrics Canada (Cryptometrics), an Ottawa-based technology
The Crown was seeking a four-year prison term for Mr. Karigar.
It argued that the jail term would deter others from bribing
foreign officials. The defence argued for a reformatory sentence,
which could be served in the community. The defence pointed to Mr.
Karigar's age – he is 67 – and lack of criminal
Mr. Karigar was sentenced to three years in prison by Justice
Charles Hackland of the Ontario Superior Court. In sentencing Mr.
Karigar, Justice Hackland took Mr. Karigar's age, his
cooperation, and the fact that the scheme was unsuccessful into
account as mitigating factors. Justice Hackland noted, however,
that since the bribery scheme Mr. Karigar participated in must be
viewed as a serious crime, the principles of denunciation and
deterrence were also important.
The maximum sentence Mr. Karigar could have received under
section 3(2) of the CFPOA was five years in prison. Although this
provision was amended in June 2013 to raise the maximum prison term
to 14 years, the amendments to the CFPOA did not apply to Mr.
Karigar because the offence in question occurred prior to the
amendments coming into force.
The sentencing reflects a continuing trend of increased
enforcement of the CFPOA by Canadian authorities. Additionally, it
reflects that judges are increasingly imposing stiffer sentences,
including prison terms which historically have been rare, on
Mr. Karigar's sentencing is significant because it is the
first time that a prison term has been handed out under the CFPOA.
The decision, which will stand as a precedent for future
sentencings, demonstrates that Canadian courts view breaching the
CFPOA as a serious offence. It also demonstrates that enforcement
authorities are willing and able to secure significant penalties
for individuals or corporations that violate the CFPOA. This
sentencing underscores the need for a robust compliance program,
including conducting a risk assessment, implementing appropriate
policies, training employees and agents, implementing a governance
structure aimed at preventing anti-corruption violations, using
protective contractual terms, engaging in due diligence, and
engaging in ongoing monitoring to guard against these types of
matters. For additional information on complying with
anti-corruption legislation, please see our previous Blakes Bulletin: The Long Reach of the Law: Practical Tips for
Compliance with Anti-Corruption Legislation.
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