Answer ... Corporate hospitality – such as meals, match tickets and other entertainment – falls within the ordinary meaning of ‘gift, consideration or advantage’. However, such gifts or entertainment do not necessarily fall within the scope of the Corruption Act.
In order for the provision of corporate hospitality to amount to an offence, it must satisfy the criteria under the Corruption Act. The act does not criminalise corporate hospitality that is offered simply to maintain good business relations.
In accordance with the Ethics Acts, 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 them under an obligation. Generally, small token gifts such as calendars, diaries or pens of small value are acceptable, provided that there is no intent to influence the government official. Gifts of money or other property exceeding €650 given to an office holder or the spouse or child of an office holder by virtue of his or her office will be deemed to be gifts to the state and must be surrendered.
Answer ... There is no distinction in Irish law between facilitation payments and other types of corrupt payments. Therefore, should a payment fall within the scope of those envisaged by the Corruption Act, the individuals or corporates involved may be guilty of an offence.
Answer ... Part 2 of the Corruption Act includes offences in respect of corrupt gifts, consideration, advantages and inducements made directly and indirectly. Agents and facilitating parties can therefore be held equally liable for offences committed under the Corruption Act.
Answer ... A body corporate will be guilty of an offence under the Corruption Act if the offence is committed by the following parties with the intention of obtaining or retaining either business for the body corporate or an advantage in the conduct of business for the body corporate:
- a director, manager, secretary or other officer;
- a person purporting to act in that capacity;
- a shadow director; or
- an employee, agent or subsidiary.
It is a defence for the body corporate to prove that it took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence.
Answer ... Yes - as per the above, a body corporate may be guilty of an offence under the Corruption Act if an offence is committed by a subsidiary with the intention of obtaining or retaining either business for the body corporate or an advantage in the conduct of business for the body corporate.
Answer ... This will depend on the terms of the merger or acquisition; but generally speaking, if the entity responsible for the bribery ceases to exist post-merger, the successor company will become liable for the acts of the legacy company and its employees and agents (who themselves may also be held personally liable).