A newly published legal alert sent to us from our partner firm Baker & McKenzie in Moscow explores recent amendments to Russia’s anti-corruption law – Federal Law No. 273 “On Combating Corruption.” Article 13.3 of the law, which went into effect on January 1, 2013, imposes an affirmative duty on companies to develop compliance programs aimed at curbing corruption.
As part of their “duty to develop and implement measures to prevent bribery,” Article 13.3 includes the following requirements for companies:
1) Designating departments and structural units and officers who will be responsible for the prevention of bribery and related offenses;
2) Developing and implementing standards and procedures designed to ensure ethical business conduct;
3) Adopting a code of ethics and professional conduct for all employees;
4) Means for identifying, preventing and resolving conflicts of interest; and
5) Preventing the creation and use of false or altered documents.
The new law has broad implications for multinational companies who may have subsidiaries in Russia. As in many other jurisdictions, anti-bribery compliance programs, while encouraged by enforcement authorities, are not obligatory in the United States. Companies with operations in Russia may now have to reevaluate their internal procedures to ensure that they are complying with local regulations. According to Baker & McKenzie, a company may even be liable under the new Russian law when “dealing with agents and third parties lacking compliance programs within their organizations[.]”
In global rankings, Russia continues to come in high on the scale of perceived corruption, placing 133 out of 174 in the 2012 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. In recent years, however, Russia’s government has taken significant steps to rid itself of that image. Last February it joined the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and this year has promised (again) to make fighting corruption a further priority while heading the Group of 20 (G20).