Higher Penalties for Corruption, Fraud
THE HAGUE, 06/07/13 - Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten on Friday sent a proposal to the Lower House for higher penalties for corruption.
Under the proposal, the maximum fine for companies is to be 10 percent of their annual turnover. The present fines of up to 780,000 euros make little impression on big companies, in the minister’s view.
In order to be able to tackle criminal gains harder and more effectively, the minister raises the maximum penalties for the different types of money laundering.
The maximum penalty for the bare crime is raised from four to six years imprisonment. If the money laundering is habitual or part of exercising a profession, the maximum prison sentence will be eight years.
Bribing civil servants will be punished in future with a maximum prison sentence of six years. Also the sentence for corruption in the private sector will go up – from two to four years.
Also the scope of the penalisation of bribery in the private sector will be extended. Cases are concerned for instance, in which service providers such as accountants and appraisers are bribed to overlook embezzlement or to give an incorrect value for real estate.
The prison sentence for economic offenders who systematically duck the rules will go up to a maximum of four years. "Waste processing companies for instance which repeatedly ignore environmental regulations, or fraudulent financial institutions distort the competition with businesses which do comply with the rules and often cause large social damage," the minister stated.
The bill also contains further measures to engage into combat with financial economic crime. The maximum penalty legal persons can get when they are guilty of offences will be linked to their financial capacity from now on.
Finally, the procedure is speeded up to assess whether lawyers or notaries rightfully claim their right of non-disclosure at a seizure as part of a criminal investigation. Investigations of financial economical crime will run into fewer delays, if at for instance a seizure of a fraudulent company's accounts, correspondence with lawyers or notaries is found.