HSE University Anti-Corruption Portal
Greece Introduces Liability of Legal Persons for Corruption

Greece has adopted a legal act expanding liability for bribery of public officials to organisations.

Law of 23 February 2024 No. 5090 “On Amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes Aimed at Accelerating and Improving the Quality of Criminal Prosecution and Modernising the Legal Basis of the Prevention of and Fight against Corruption” (Παρεμβάσεις στον Ποινικό Κώδικα και τον Κώδικα Ποινικής Δικονομίας για την επιτάχυνση και την ποιοτική αναβάθμιση της ποινικής δίκης Εκσυγχρονισμός του νομοθετικού πλαισίου για την πρόληψη και την καταπολέμηση της ενδοοικογενειακής βίας) introduces, among other things, criminal liability of legal persons for the following crimes committed for the benefit or on behalf of legal persons by their management and/or their subordinates in case of absence of proper controls of superiors also abroad:

  • Bribery of the prime minister, a member of the Government, deputy minister, member of Parliament, governor of a region, mayor, judge, and public official;
  • Bribery of a person who can exercise undue influence on the above-listed persons;
  • Complicity in bribing.

A corporate manager is:

  • A person who hold a managerial position in the organisation;
  • A person representing the organisation;
  • A person entitled to take decisions on behalf of the organisation;
  • A person exercising control functions in the organisation.

If a legal person if found guilty, it can be subject to a fine:

  • If the crime is committed directly by a manager, the fine ranges between €50,000 and €10 million; if the pre-tax annual net profits of the legal person exceed €10 million, the fine can reach its double;
  • If the crime is committed by a subordinate of a manager as a result of a lack of proper control (oversight) of his/her activities by the manager, the fine ranges from €10,000 to €5 million; the fine can reach up to the amount of the pre-tax annual net profits of the legal person, if such profits exceed €5,000,000.

Besides the fine, a revocation or suspension of the operating license or prohibition on continuing the respective business activity for a period between one month and two years (from one month to one year, if the crime is committed by a subordinate of the manager) may be imposed.

In adopting a decision on whether to hold an organisation liable, the court will take into account, among other things:

  • The gravity and duration of the violation;
  • The degree of responsibility of the legal person;
  • The financial position of the legal person;
  • The amount of the resulting or intended illegal benefit;
  • The damages of third parties resulting from the offence;
  • The actions of the legal person after the offence, particularly the conduct of an internal investigation;
  • The repetition of the offence.

Liability of a company does not depend on whether its managers are subject to civil, disciplinary or criminal liability; it can be equally imposed on any successor of the organisation that is established as a result of its reorganization, merger, acquisition or other corporate transformation (proportionate to the share of the assets transferred).

Criminal prosecution

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