Reed Smith News Flashes

Key takeaways

  • New Greek law allows legal entities to be held criminally liable for bribery of government officials
  • Fines can reach double an entity’s annual turnover
  • Liability survives corporate reorganization or M&A
  • Increased compliance efforts and due diligence needed for asset transfer transactions

Until recently the concept of criminal liability for a legal entity did not exist under Greek law, and only the legal entity’s management could be held liable for a criminal offence such as bribery of government officials. 

By virtue of new Law no. 5090/2024, effective as of 23 February 2024, a distinct independent legal liability for legal entities has been introduced for bribery offences, in accordance with the OECD Anti-Bribery Recommendation and along the lines of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Anti-Bribery Act.

Under the new law, if bribery of a public employee, politician or judge is committed by an individual for the benefit or on behalf of a legal entity, acting singly or as a member of the entity’s management, the legal entity is held liable for a fine that may reach double its annual turnover. In addition, the legal entity’s permit may be revoked or suspended for a period of one month up to two years, or the legal entity may be forced to cease operations.

If the bribery offence is committed by a subordinate, assignee or intermediary of the legal entity due to a lack of supervision, the fine may reach as high as the entity’s annual turnover, and its permit may be revoked or suspended for a period of up to one year.