[co-authors: Georg Hiiesalu, Norman Aas]*
1. Is your country a member of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention?
2. Is your country a member of any other bilateral or multilateral conventions on anti-corruption?
Yes, Estonia is a member of the following:
- Criminal Law Convention on Corruption of Council of Europe
- Civil Law Convention on Corruption of Council of Europe
- Convention on the Protection of the European Communities’ Financial Interests
- EU Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA of July 22, 2003, on combating corruption in the private sector
- Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions
- UN Convention against Corruption
3. Are there local anti-corruption laws in your country focusing on corporations, not individuals? If yes, what sanctions can be imposed?
4. Can companies be held liable for acts of corruption under civil or administrative law?
No, criminal liability primarily applies to corruption. At the same time, administrative restrictions may also apply to companies convicted of corruption, e.g., a ban on participating in public procurement.
5. Is corruption of individuals punishable?
Yes, individuals can be held criminally liable for corruption crimes in accordance with the Estonian Penal Code.
6. Are facilitation payments allowed?
7. Is there a legal regulation/maximum limit for accepting or giving gifts, invitations, etc.?
There is no maximum limit. However, by performing public duties, an official must refuse any gifts, invitations, etc., if there is a suspicion that it might be intended to affect the official. Gifts are not regarded as corruptive when they are not linked to the official’s duties or can be considered polite (e.g., like flowers or a box of chocolates).
8. Are bribes to foreign government officials prohibited?
Yes, under sections 288(3) and 298 of the Estonian Penal Code.
9. Does your legislation have any extraterritorial reach?
Yes, the penal law of Estonia applies to an act committed outside the territory of Estonia if the offender is a citizen of Estonia at the time of the commission of the act or becomes a citizen of Estonia after the commission of the act.
10. Is it possible to confiscate assets from the company?
Yes, assets obtained through criminal means can also be confiscated from companies.
11. Does your legislation rely on deferred prosecution or non-prosecution agreements or any other type of non-trial resolution for corruption?
12. Can a company be liable for the acts of its intermediaries or third parties?
Under certain preconditions, yes. A company shall be held criminally liable for an act that its competent representative commits in the interests of the company. Thus, the intermediary or third party must act in the interest and under the company’s authority for criminal liability to be transferred to the company.
13. Can a parent company be liable for the acts of its subsidiaries?
Under certain preconditions, yes. A representative of subsidiaries must act in the interest and under the parent company’s authority for criminal liability to be transferred to the parent company.
14. Are there any affirmative defenses or exceptions for those accused of corruption acts?
Companies that can demonstrate that they have implemented adequate anti-corruption programs and policies may be exempt from criminal liability for crimes committed by their competent representative. For natural persons, there are no exceptions specifically meant for corruption crimes.
15. Does your jurisdiction require domestic entities to implement anti-corruption internal programs?
No, there is no legal obligation. However, this is a recommendation as companies that can demonstrate that they have implemented adequate anti-corruption programs and policies may be exempt from criminal liability for crimes committed by their competent representative.
16. Is having a compliance program a defense or mitigating factor, while reviewing sanctions?
Yes, please see the answers to the previous questions.
17. Could the cooperation with the authorities or an internal investigation be a defense or mitigating factor?
Yes, under section 57 of the Estonian Penal Code.
18. Is there any publicly available guideline issued by the authorities in charge of enforcing anti-corruption laws? For example, manuals on compliance programs, leniency agreements, etc. If so, please provide the link.