Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


What is good practice when it comes to financial and imprisonment sanctions for offences ranging from petty corruption to grand corruption crime?


1. Sanctioning bribery : An overview of norms and practices

2. Selected country examples of sanctioning regimes

3. References

4. Appendix: Comparative overview of selected countries


Most of the literature about corruption sanctioning regimes focuses primarily on bribery and foreign bribery, and there are few publicly available resources that deal specifically with the sanctioning of the wide range of other corruption related offences.


Sanctions for fighting corruption differ significantly between countries and reflect different circumstances, legal traditions, national priorities and policies. Irrespective of the sanctioning regime, it is however vital to make sure that the sanctions for corruption offences clearly outweigh the benefits of the crime.

While there is a broad consensus that sanctions should be linked to the gravity of the offence, there is little guidance on what constitutes effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for corruption crimes. Most countries stipulate a mix of criminal and non-criminal penalties against individuals and companies found guilty of corruption, typically including financial sanctions, imprisonment, and confiscation of the bribe and the proceeds of bribery. International instruments also encourage state parties to complement such criminal sanctions with additional administrative and civil sanctions, including disciplinary action such as suspensions or reassignment, or bans on holding public office or participating in public tenders. 


Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected]


Gillian Dell, Transparency International




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