Comparative Guides
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Results: 4 Answers
Anti-Corruption & Bribery
1.
Legal and enforcement framework
1.1
Which legislative and regulatory provisions govern anti-corruption in your jurisdiction, from a regulatory (preventive) and enforcement (criminal) perspective?
 
Ireland
The Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018 is the principal statutory source of anti-bribery and corruption legislation in Ireland. The key corruption and bribery offences are provided for in Part 2 of the Corruption Act and include the following.

Active and passive corruption: It is an offence to, directly or indirectly, corruptly offer, give, agree to give, request, accept, obtain or agree to accept a gift, consideration or advantage as an inducement to, or reward for, or otherwise on account of, doing an act in relation to one’s office, employment, position or business.

‘Corruptly’ is broadly defined under the 2018 act and includes acting with an improper purpose personally or by influencing another person, whether:

  • by means of making a false or misleading statement;
  • by means of withholding, concealing, altering or destroying a document or other information; or
  • by other means.

Active and passing trading in influence: It is an offence to, directly or indirectly, corruptly offer, give or agree to give a gift, consideration or advantage in order to induce another person to exert an improper influence over an act of an official in relation to the office, employment, position or business of that official.

Similarly, it is an offence to, directly or indirectly, corruptly request, accept, obtain or agree to accept for one’s self or for any other person a gift, consideration or advantage on account of a person promising or asserting the ability to improperly influence an official to do an act in relation to his or her office, employment, position or business.

Corruption in relation to office, employment, position or business: An Irish official who, directly or indirectly, does an act in relation to his or her office, employment, position or business for the purpose of corruptly obtaining a gift, consideration or advantage for himself or herself, or for any other person, will be guilty of an offence.

It is also an offence for an Irish official to use confidential information obtained in the course of his or her office, employment, position or business for the purpose of corruptly obtaining a gift, consideration or advantage for himself or herself, or for any other person.

‘Irish official’ is broadly defined and includes Irish members of both the Irish and EU Parliament, government officials, the judiciary, jury members, arbitrators, officers, directors and employees of Irish public bodies and persons remunerated by the Irish government or employed by or acting for or on behalf of the public administration of the state.

Giving a gift, consideration or advantage that may be used to facilitate an offence under the Corruption Act: It is an offence to give a gift, consideration or advantage to another person where the person knows, or ought reasonably to know, that the gift, consideration or advantage, or a part thereof, will be used to facilitate the commission of an offence under the Corruption Act.

Creating or using a false document: It is an offence to, directly or indirectly, create or use a document that the person knows or believes to contain a statement which is false or misleading in a material particular, with the intention of inducing another person to do an act in relation to his or her office, employment, position or business to the prejudice of the last-mentioned person or another person.

Intimidation: It is an offence to, directly or indirectly, threaten harm to a person with the intention of corruptly influencing that person or another person to do an act in relation to his or her office, employment, position or business.

Offences under other legislation: Other relevant legislation in Ireland includes the following:

  • The Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 (as amended by the Standards in Public Office Act 2001) (together, the ‘Ethics Acts’) obliges Irish public office holders and public servants to report and surrender gifts and payments above €650. The Ethics Acts also require that designated public servants furnish a statement in writing, declaring their financial interests. All office holders and public servants are expected to adhere to the fundamental principle that an offer of gifts, hospitality or services should not be accepted where it would, or might appear to, place him or her under an obligation.
  • The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2018 transposed most of the provisions of the fourth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive into Irish law. The act introduced a wide range of reforms, including:
    • the expansion of the definition of persons considered to be beneficial owners of bodies corporate, trusts and partnerships;
    • enhanced customer due diligence requirements for designated persons;
    • widening of the definition of politically exposed persons to include individuals residing inside the state; and
    • the tightening of exemptions relating to certain electronic money products.
  • The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 regulates lobbying in Ireland. Among other things, the act provides for the establishment and maintenance of a register of persons carrying on lobbying activities and a code of conduct relating to the carrying on of lobbying activities; and imposes restrictions on involvement in lobbying by certain former designated public officials. The act also creates offences for breach of the legislation, to include carry on lobbying activities without being registered to do so.
For more information about this answer please contact: Jillian Conefrey from Arthur Cox
1.2
Which bilateral and multilateral instruments on anti-corruption have effect in your jurisdiction?
 
Ireland
Ireland has signed and ratified the following international anti-corruption conventions:

  • the EU Convention on the Protection of the European Communities Financial Interests (and Protocols);
  • the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Officials in International Business Transactions;
  • the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption;
  • the Convention on the Fight against Corruption Involving Officials of the European Communities or Officials of Member States of the European Union;
  • ƒähe Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption;
  • the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime; and
  • the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
For more information about this answer please contact: Jillian Conefrey from Arthur Cox
1.3
Are there accessible directives or other guidance from enforcement authorities in your jurisdiction?
 
Ireland
The government has not yet published guidance on compliance with anti-corruption and bribery legislation in Ireland. However, a review group chaired by the former director of public prosecutions, James Hamilton, has recently been appointed to carry out a review of anti-fraud and anti-corruption structures and procedures. The review is aimed at assessing the extent to which various state bodies involved in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of fraud and corruption are working effectively together, and identifying any gaps or impediments in this regard. The review group is due to report its findings and recommendations to the minister for justice and equality by Summer 2019. It is hoped that as part of this review, recommendations will be made in relation to the publication of guidance on compliance with anti-corruption legislation.

The Standards in Public Office Commission publishes guidelines in accordance with the Ethics Acts. The guidelines assist in informing office holders and prescribed public servants (generally middle and senior ranking in both the civil service and public bodies) of their obligations under the legislation. These are available on the Standards in Public Office Commission website (www.sipo.ie/en/).

For more information about this answer please contact: Jillian Conefrey from Arthur Cox
1.4
Which bodies are responsible for enforcing the applicable laws and regulations? What powers do they have?
 
Ireland
The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau is the primary body tasked with investigating bribery and corruption in Ireland. The body tasked with the prosecution of any such bribery and corruption offences is the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) also monitors and prosecutes violations of company law; however, this looks set to change. The Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Bill 2018 is currently being considered by the Irish government. Should the legislation be enacted, the Corporate Enforcement Authority will replace the ODCE and be established as an independent statutory agency. The authority will assume a greater role in relation to the monitoring of anti-bribery and anti-corruption measures, and will play a significant part in the investigation of corruption offences.

For more information about this answer please contact: Jillian Conefrey from Arthur Cox
1.5
What are the statistics regarding past and ongoing anti-corruption procedures in your jurisdiction?
 
Ireland
To date, investigations into allegations of bribery or corruption in Ireland have been uncommon and there have been no prosecutions under the Corruption Act. However, this trend appears to be slowly changing. The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau now has a team dedicated to the investigation of serious and complex economic crimes, to include the investigation of all cases of bribery and corruption; and one would anticipate that, following the government’s review of anti-fraud anti-corruption measures as referred to in question 1.3, there will be a renewed focus on the investigation of allegations of bribery and corruption and prosecution of such offences.

For more information about this answer please contact: Jillian Conefrey from Arthur Cox
1.6
What are the shortcomings identified in your jurisdiction’s anti-corruption legislation (including recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, where applicable)?
 
Ireland
The Gardaí Síochána (Irish police force) and the Department of Foreign Affairs have raised concerns around their ability to sufficiently enforce corruption offences committed abroad. The basis for these concerns emanates from the provision in the Corruption Act for ‘dual criminality’ in respect of certain offences occurring overseas. In order to prosecute certain offences committed outside of Ireland, the relevant act or offence under Irish law must also constitute an offence in the country in which it was done and certain connections to Ireland must be established. The challenge for the authorities lies in the investigation and obtaining of sufficient evidence in respect of such offences such as to ground a prosecution in respect of same.

For more information about this answer please contact: Jillian Conefrey from Arthur Cox