EU Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from the European Commission. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


Can you provide an overview of how EU countries regulate private-to-private corruption?


1. Private-to-private corruption: an overview

2. Regulating private-to-private corruption in the absence of specific rules

3. Regulating private-to-private corruption through specific rules

4. Private-to-private corruption: country examples

5. References


In recent years, anti-corruption regulations have evolved from the criminalisation of bribery of public officials to the establishment of specific legal frameworks criminalising corruption within the private sector. These laws aim to ensure that individuals working in the private sector do not make decisions for their own benefit, which could potentially have severe impact on a country’s economic development, distorting markets and hampering employee morale and integrity.

Within this context and also encouraged by international and regional bodies, several countries, particularly members of the European Union, have recently reformed their legal framework to ensure a more coherent and clear approach to punishing private corruption. They include Croatia, Italy and the United Kingdom. Recent rules thus aim at criminalising active and passive corruption within the private sector, committed by any employee in a breach of duty to gain an advantage for him/herself or a third party. Enforcement of these rules, however, is still rather weak and very few cases of private corruption have been actually prosecuted. 


Maíra Martini, Transparency International, [email protected]


Marie Chene; Dieter Zinnbauer, Ph.D., Transparency International




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