1. Participation in OECD (list year):
Serbia is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
2. What is the applicable anticorruption legislation?
Serbian anti-corruption rules are embodied in:
- the Criminal Code (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, Nos. 85/2005, 88/2005, 107/2005, 72/2009, 111/2009, 121/2012, 104/2013, 108/2014, 94/2016 and 35/2019);
- the Anti-Corruption Act (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, No. 35/2019, 88/2019);
- the Act on the Liability of Legal Entities for Criminal Offences (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, no. 97/2008);
- the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, Nos. 113/2017 and 91/2019);
- the Lobbying Act (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, Nos. 87/2018 and 86/2019);
- the Act on Financing Political Activities (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, Nos. 43/2011, 123/2014, 88/2019);
- the Act on Organization and Jurisdiction of the Government Authorities in Suppressing Organized Crime, Terrorism and Corruption Act (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, Nos. 94/2016 and 87/2016).
3. What does this legislation prohibit?
The Criminal Code sets out several corruption offences against a) economic interests and b) official duty.
The main offences to be considered are:
- the malfeasance to acquire unlawful material gain (Article 227 of the Criminal Code);
- the malfeasance related to public procurement (Article 228 of the Criminal Code);
- the malfeasance in the privatization procedure (Article 228 (a) of the Criminal Code);
- offering and taking bribe in performing economic activity (Articles 230 and 231 of the Criminal Code respectively);
- offering and taking bribes when performing official duty (Articles 367 and 368 of the Criminal Code).
The Anti-Corruption Act (“Act”) prohibits various actions to public officials, as follows:
- subordination of public interests to personal interests (Article 40 of the Act);
- performing other work or business activity at the time of assuming public office (Article 45 of the Act);
- performing other work or business activities while discharging a public office that requires full-time or permanent work (Article 46 of the Act);
- establishing a company or public service or entrepreneurship, as well as representation, membership, or exercising management rights in a privately owned company (Article 48 of the Act);
- accumulation of public offices, unless necessary to hold two or more (Article 56 of the Act);
- reporting false information on the property and/or failing to report property (Article 101 of the Act).
4. Does it cover bribes to foreign government officials?
Yes, the Criminal Code covers bribes to foreign officials (Articles 367 (5) and 368 (3)).
5. Does it cover business to business corruption?
Yes, the Criminal Code covers business-to-business corruption (Articles 230 and 231).
6. Are facilitation payments allowed?
Facilitation payments are not allowed by Serbian legislation. Moreover, the Anti-Corruption Act does not allow public officials to receive gifts, except for protocol gifts and appropriate gifts.
7. Can a corporation be prosecuted for acts of overseas agents, intermediaries, joint venture partners, and third parties?
Pursuant to the Act on the Liability of Legal Entities for Criminal Offences, a company can be liable for acts of third persons, only if: a) a third person operates under the supervision or control of the responsible person in the company, b) the offense is committed for the benefit of the company, c) there is lack of control or supervision by the responsible person.
8. Does the legislation have extra territorial reach?
The Criminal code shall apply to:
- Anyone who commits a criminal offence abroad if committed against the Republic of Serbia or its citizen;
- Anyone who commits a criminal offence of forgery in case the forgery relates to domestic money;
- Any Serbian citizen when he/she commits a criminal offence abroad if found in the territory of the Republic of Serbia or is extradited to Serbia (also applied to the perpetrator of a criminal offence who became a Serbian citizen after having committed the criminal offence);
- A foreigner who commits a criminal offence outside Serbian territory against the Republic of Serbia or a Serbian citizen if that person is found on the Serbian territory or is extradited to the Republic of Serbia; and
- A foreigner who commits a criminal offence against a foreign country or a foreign citizen, outside the Serbian territory, when such offence is punishable by five year imprisonment or a heavier penalty, pursuant to laws of the country of commission, and in case such person is found on the Serbian territory and is not extradited to the foreign state.
9. Can Directors of a company be found personally liable?
Yes, directors can be found personally liable. Responsible person, as defined under Article 112 (5) of the Criminal Code, is liable for malfeasances (see Article 227 of the Criminal Code).
10. What are the sanctions for breach of the legislation for Directors and corporations?
The sanctions for directors include imprisonment and fines. In particular, the sanctions that may be imposed are:
- the imprisonment from 3 months to 3 years for the malfeasance prescribed under Article 227 of the Criminal Code. In case the acquired gain exceeds the amount of Din 45,000, the sanction ranges from 6 months to 5 years of imprisonment and if the gain acquired exceeds Din 1,5 million, the sanction is 2 to 10 years of imprisonment;
- the imprisonment from 2 to 12 years for receiving bribe when performing official duty (up to 15 if this offense is done in connection with the criminal procedure). For offering a bribe in the performance of official duty, the sanction is 6 months to 5 years of imprisonment;
- the imprisonment from 1 to 8 years for receiving bribe in the performance of a business activity. For offering a bribe in performing a business activity, the sanction is 1 to 3 years of imprisonment.
Corporations are subject to sentences and security measures. Sentences include a) fines calculated with respect to the duration of the prescribed prison sentence (e.g. if 1-year imprisonment is prescribed for an offense, the company will be sanctioned with a fine ranging from Din 100 000 – 1 million) and b) termination of a legal entity.
This guide contains summaries of general principles of law. It is not a substitute for specific legal advice and should not be relied upon in relation to the application of the law or subject matter covered.