Professor Dr., University of Cologne (Germany).
Source : Bundeskriminalamt, Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik 2000,2002, p. 39.
See Dölling, Gutachten C zum 61. Deutschen Juristentag, 1996, pp. 16 et seq., 25 et seq.;
Hettinger, Neue Juristische Wochenschrift (NJW) 1996,2263 at 2267; Kerner/Rixen,
Goltdammer’s Archiv (GA) 1996,355 at 366.
Source : Bundeskriminalamt, Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik 2000,2002, p. 39.
Source : Statistisches Bundesamt (ed.), Rechtspflege Reihe 3, Strafverfolgung 2000, 2001, pp. 28,32.
EU-Bestechungsgesetz of Sept. 10,1998 (BGBl. II 2340) and Gesetz zur Bekämpfung
internationaler Bestechung of Sept. 10,1998 (BGBl. II 2327).
See, e.g., the comprehensive multidisciplinary volume by Pieth/Eigen (eds.), Korruption
im internationalen Geschäftsverkehr, 1999.
E.g., a member of the cabinet or a notary public; see Gribbohm, in : Leipziger Kommentar Strafgesetzbuch (hereinafter : LK), 11th ed. 1997, § 11 note 28.
Entscheidungen des Bundesgerichtshofes in Strafsachen (hereinafter : BGHSt) 45,16 at 19 ( 1999). In its decision BGHSt 46,310 at 313 ( 2001), the Federal Court of Appeals
explains that the function of the organisation employing the offender must be comparable
to a typical public function.
For details and examples, see Dölling (n. 2), pp. 54 et seq.; Dölling, Zeitschrift für die
gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft (ZStW) 112 (2000), p. 334 at 337-342; see also
Bauer/Gmel, LK, Nachtrag 2001, §§ 331-338 note 6.
The same requirement of specificity applies to passive bribery of judges (§ 331 II PC).
See Cramer, in : Schönke/Schröder, Strafgesetzbuch, 26th ed. 2001 (hereinafter : S/S),
§ 331 note 19; Jescheck, in : LK, § 331 note 9, with references.
See Cramer, in : S/S, § 331 note 53a; Korte, Neue Zeitschrift für Strafrecht (NStZ) 1997, 513 at 515; Ransiek, Strafverteidiger (StV) 1996,446 at 451; but see the more rigorous
position of Dölling (n. 2), pp. 67-68.
§ 336 PC specifically provides that non-performance of a public service shall be treated
the same way as performance.
BGHSt 15,88 at 97 (1960).
§ 332 III reads : « If the offender demands, accepts an offer of or receives any advantage
in return for a future act, sections 1 and 2 are applicable when the offender has shown
himself ready (i) to violate his duties in carrying out the act or (ii) insofar as the act involves
the exercise of discretion, to let the advantage influence the exercise of his discretion. »
See BGH Neue Zeitschrift für Strafrecht - Rechtsprechungsreport 2002,272 at 274.
There exist different views as to whether an unlawfully granted permission nevertheless
exempts the public official from punishability; see Cramer, in : S/S, § 331note 51;
Lackner/Kühl, Strafgesetzbuch. Kommentar, 24th ed. 2001, § 331 note 17.
See Dölling, ZStW 112 (2000), p. 344; Jescheck, in : LK, § 331 note 15; Wessels/Hettinger, Strafrecht Besonderer Teil 1,25th ed. 2001, note 1113. For attempts to
define the limits, see Bannenberg, Korruption in Deutschland und ihre strafrechtliche
Kontrolle, 2002, pp. 398 et seq.; Duttge, ZRP 1997,72 at 77.
§ 28 I PC provides that an accomplice in an offense the commission of which requires
certain personal circumstances defined by the statute (e.g., the status of being a public
official in §§ 331,332 PC) must receive a sentence discount if these personal
circumstances are not applicable to him.
Cf. Rudolphi, in : Systematischer Kommentar zum Strafgesetzbuch (hereinafter : SK
StGB), 1997, § 333 note 18.
For results of an empirical study on sentences imposed for bribery, see Bannenberg
(n. 18), pp. 280 et seq.
See § 24 Beamtenrechtsrahmengesetz, § 48 Bundesbeamtengesetz.
The provision extends to active and passive bribery committed either for continuing gain
( gewerbsmäßig) or as a member of a gang formed to commit bribery on a permanent basis.
As to the high standard of proof required, see BGHSt 40,371 at 373 (1994).
BGHSt 11,345 at 347 ( 1958); for an opposing view (completion when advantage has
been given), see Stree/Sternberg-Lieben, in : S/S, § 78a note 2. The issue has been left
open in BGH NJW 1998,2373.
Cf. Eser, in : S/S, § 108e note 1.
State employees can commit the offense of business bribery only to the extent that the
state takes part in regular market competition, e.g., in relation with the acquisition of
materials for administrative agencies. To the extent a state-influenced organisation or
enterprise is regarded as part of the public administration (and the persons acting for that
organisation are thus public officials in the sense of §§ 331,332 PC), § 299 PC is not
applicable; see Tiedemann, in : LK, § 299 note 18.
Heine, in : Schönke/Schröder, § 299 note 2; Tiedemann, in : LK, § 299 note 5.
Tiedemann, in : LK, § 299 note 6, with further references.
Tiedemann, in : LK, § 299 note 17.
Tiedemann, in : LK, § 299 note 31.
E.g., when having this information enables the business partner to make an offer that
exactly matches the internal requirements of the « passive » employee’s enterprise.
For discussions, see Heine, in : S/S, § 299 notes 19-20; Tiedemann, in : LK, § 299 notes 36-39.
For an extensive discussion, see Tiedemann, in : LK, § 299 notes 19-21 with references.
Dölling (n. 2), p. 102; Eser, in : S/S, vor § 3 notes 16-18. But note that special statutes
extend the territorial applicability of German law (III. 2., infra).
See Tiedemann, in : LK, § 299 note 3, citing draft agreements and statutes aiming at
explicitly extending § 299 PC to competition within the European Union.
It is not quite clear whether this requirement is fulfilled, e.g., when business bribery in
the foreign jurisdiction is punishable as an offense against the interests of the enterprise
whose employee is receiving the bribe; see Tiedemann, in : LK, § 299 note 56.
Bundesgesetzblatt I 1998, p. 2327.
Art. 2 § 1 Gesetz zur Bekämpfung internationaler Bestechung.
See Zieschang, NJW 1999,105 at 107.
Bundesgesetzblatt I 1998, p. 2340.
It should be noted that territorial application of the German law on active and passive
bribery under this statute is not limited to the territory of the European Union; as long as the
act affects a judge or public official of the European Communities or of any member state,
German courts have jurisdiction even if the act took place outside Europe and was not
The preambles of the Protocols of Sept. 27,1996, and of June 19,1997, on which the
German statute is based, mention as the purpose of assimilation of corruption offenses only
the improved protection of the financial interests of the Communities - which would primarily
require the assimilation of bribing EC officials to the bribing of national public officials of the
respective member state. The further step of assimilating offenses of corruption relating to
or committed by national public officials of any member state was taken for the first time in
the Convention on Combating Corruption of May 26,1997. The preamble of this
Convention gives no substantive reason for this extension except that it mentions
« improvement of judicial cooperation among member states ».
And because the court can at any time dismiss the case if it regards the offender’s guilt
as insignificant (§ 383 II CCP).
See, however, Überhofen, Korruption und Bestechungsdelikte im staatlichen Bereich, 1999, p. 129, arguing that § 331 PC, by extending liability to accepting advantages « for
providing public service », in fact shifts the burden of proof to the public official who has
received an advantage : he must then demonstrate the purely private context of the gift.
For details, see Joecks, in : Pieth/Eigen (n. 6), pp. 373 et seq.
The same offense can be committed by a manager or employee of a private enterprise
with authority or factual power to dispose of or affect the finances of the enterpise.
Cf. Ruß, in : LK, § 259 note 5;Stree, in : Schönke/Schröder, § 259 note 7. The result may
be different with respect to business bribery if one assumes that bribing an employee of a
business enterprise has a direct impact on competitors’financial situation.
See BGHSt 38,186 (1996), and discussion of this decision in Dahs (ed.), Kriminelle
Kartelle ?, 1998.
Eser, in : Schönke/Schröder, vor § 3 note 15.
There is some dispute as to whether German law is applicable when the offense was
directed against a legal entity chartered in Germany; cf. Eser, in : Schönke/Schröder, § 7
note 6; Gribbohm, in : LK, § 7 note 48.
See, e.g., the critical view of Hettinger, NJW 1996,2263.
Hettinger, NJW 1996,2263 at 2268-2271; Ransiek, StV 1996,446 at 450-451.
Korte, NStZ 1997,513 at 515; Ransiek, StV 1996,446 at 451.
See Dölling (n. 2), pp. 49-50;Überhofen (n. 45), pp. 76 et seq. (with further references).
Other authors regard as the protected legal interest the general reputation of state
administration ( Cramer, in : Schönke/Schröder, § 331 note 3) or the trust of the public in the
incorruptibility of public service (BGHSt 15,88 at 96; Jescheck, in : LK, vor § 331 note 17,
with further references). From this « subjective » perspective, it is easy to explain the
inclusion of subsequent payments in bribery prohibitions; but this perspective fails to
provide any rational limits to criminal liability for bribery : corruption is what the public think
Accord, Dölling (n. 2), pp. 64-65.
Accord, Dölling (n. 2), pp. 67-68.
Cf. Cramer, in : Schönke/Schröder, § 333 note 1;Hettinger, NJW 1996,2263 at 2272;
Korte, NStZ 1997,513 at 515.
Dölling (n. 2), pp. 104-105; Kerner/Rixen, GA 1996,355 at 391; Pieth, in : Lüderssen,
Aufgeklärte Kriminalpolitik oder Kampf gegen das Böse ?; vol. III, 1998, p. 443 at 449.
See Frisch, in : Pieth/Eigen (n. 6), p. 89.
For a useful analysis of the issue, see Pieth, ZStW 109 (1997), p. 756 at 772-774.
See Bannenberg (n. 18), pp. 412 et seq.; Lisken, NJW 1995,1873 at 1875.
See, e.g., §§ 142 IV (leaving the scene of an accident), 298 III (submission fraud), 306e
(arson), 314a (explosives offenses), 330b (environmental offenses) PC.
Leaving to courts the option of only reducing the sentence (as do the provisions cited
in note 63 supra) drastically reduces the attractiveness of « active repentance » provisions
because a potential turncoat can never be certain whether and to what extent his
cooperation with law enforcement will be honored.
See, e.g., Art. 2 OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in
International Business Relations (1997); Art. 4 Second Protocol on the European
Communities Convention on the Protection of Financial Interests of the European
Community (97/C221/02) (1997); Art. 19 II Council of Europe Draft Criminal Law
Convention on Corruption (1998).
Accord, Bannenberg (n. 2), pp. 409 et seq.; for a contrary view, see Ransiek, StV 1996, 446 at 452 (arguing that the enterprise ist the « real culprit » and individual responsibility is
not of interest here).
See, e.g., Kerner/Rixen, GA 1996,355 at 394.
See Dölling (n. 2), p. 99.
For a list of legislative proposals, see Bannenberg (n. 18), pp. 428 et seq.; for arguments in favor of such proposals see, e.g., Dölling (n. 2), p. 74; Schaupensteiner, NStZ 1996,409 at 414; Überhofen (n. 45), pp. 156 et seq., 165.
Graf Lambsdorff, in : Pieth/Eigen (n. 6), p. 56 at 84-85, correctly points out that the use
of crown witnesses and informers increases the transaction costs of corruption by
heightening the risk that information will not remain confidential, thus making it necessary
for offenders to take additional measures of caution, e.g., checking the background of every
person involved in an illicit « deal ».
For recent comprehensive discussions see Breucker/Engberding, Die Kronzeugenregelung, 1999; Jeßberger, Kooperation und Strafzumessung, 1999; Paeffgen, StV 1999, 627
Accord, Kerner/Rixen, GA 1996,355 at 385; Ransiek, StV 1996,446 at 449. But see
my suggestion to offer impunity for « active repentance » ( supra) - this institution is built on
a different, more stable theoretical foundation (i.e., avoidance of harm or restitution) and
can have similar effects as a « crown witness » statute in that it may persuade insiders to
cooperate with law enforcement.
See BVerfGE 57,250; BGHSt 32,115; 40,211; 42,139; 45,321.
Dölling (n. 2), p. 100; Dölling, ZStW 112 (2000), p. 334 at xx; Schaupensteiner, NStZ 1996,409 at 414; but see, contra, Kerner/Rixen, GA 1996,355 at 393. Überhofen (n. 45),
p. 167, recommends limiting the authority to order wiretaps to particularly serious cases of
corruption (§ 335 PC). This is hardly practical because in the early stages of an
investigation it will often not be possible to determine whether the offense in question is
« particularly serious ».
Cf. Art. 5 OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in
International Business Transactions of 1997; see also Dölling (n. 2), p. 98.
See, e.g. Bannenberg (n. 18), pp. 440 et seq.; Graf Lambsdorff, in : Pieth/Eigen (n. 6),
p. 56 at 84-85; Kerner/Rixen, GA 1996,355 at 368 et seq.;Ostendorf, NJW 1999,615 at 617;Pieth, in : Lüderssen, Aufgeklärte Kriminalpolitik oder Kampf gegen das Böse ?, vol. III, 1998, p. 433 at 447-448; Überhofen (n. 45), pp. 170 et seq.
See Kerner/Rixen, GA 1996,355 at 371.