China’s draft amendments to the PRC Criminal Law (“the Draft Amendments”) were released in early November for public comment (due on 3 December 2014). The Draft Amendments will introduce a stricter anti-graft regime and tougher sanctions for those involved in corrupt activities. Some highlights of the Draft Amendments include a new crime of offering bribes to close relatives of or any person close to working personnel of the state, the imposition of monetary fines against all individuals convicted of corruption and bribery crimes, and the replacement of amount-based standards for sentencing embezzlement and bribe-taking crimes with more general criteria such as “relatively large” or “relatively serious” circumstances.  The Draft Amendments also raise the threshold requirement for bribe-givers under the official bribery crime to be exempted from punishment only when the underlying crimes are relatively minor and the offenders voluntarily confess and assist with exposing corrupt activities of others which leads to successful investigations. The following table sets out some of the key features of the Draft Amendments.

Key features of Draft Amendments
New crime of offering bribes   to close relatives of or any person close to working personnel of the stateIn 2009,   the PRC Criminal Law was amended to impose criminal liability on the receipt   of bribes by close relatives and individuals with close relationships with   state personnel. However, this did not match the scope in relation to   bribe-givers. The Draft Amendments proposes to rectify this by expanding the   scope of bribe-givers to impose criminal liability in relation to bribes   offered to close relatives of or any person close to working personnel of the   state.
Monetary fines against   individuals convicted of corruption and bribery crimes  Under the current PRC Criminal   Law, fines are generally imposed for corrupt activities by legal entities.   Fines are only imposed on individual bribe-givers when bribing an employee of   a company or enterprise, a foreign party performing official duties or an   official of international public organizations; and the amount involved is   huge. The Draft Amendments propose to sanction individuals in addition to the   legal entities involved, and will impose monetary fines against all   individuals that are convicted of engaging in corruption and bribery   offences, in addition to other punishments.
Exemption from punishment in   relation to bribe-givers The   current PRC Criminal Law provides an exemption or mitigation of punishment   for bribe-givers givers (under the official bribery crime) who voluntarily   confess their acts of offering bribes. The Draft Amendments will retain the   voluntary confession requirement but will raise the threshold for exemption   by including additional criteria where the underlying crimes are relatively   minor and the offenders assist with exposing corrupt activities of others   which lead to successful investigations.
 Sentencing standards for   crimes of embezzlement and receiving bribes  The current sentencing   standards impose prison sentences based on the specific value of the property   embezzled or received. The Draft Amendments propose to remove the   amount-based standards and will impose punishment based on criteria such as   1) a “relatively large” amount or “relatively serious” circumstances, 2) a   “huge” amount or “serious” circumstances, and 3) an “especially huge” amount   or “especially serious” circumstances. However, the Draft Amendments do not   define or clarify how the new criteria should be applied.
Employment banThe   Draft Amendments propose to grant the court the discretion to bar individuals   from engaging in related professions for five years after completing their   prison sentence, or for five years after being released on parole. This will   occur where an individual has been punished for “taking advantage of his or   her position” or “violating the obligations of one’s profession”.
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