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Corruption Criminal Law Amendment Act 2023 - KorrStrÄG

The KorrStrÄG amended the Criminal Code in the area of combating corruption, the Act on the Liability of Associations (VbVG), the National Council Election Regulations 1992 (NRWO) and the European Election Regulations (EuWO).

The amendments came into force on September 1st, 2023.

The aim is to effectively combat corruption in the future and close gaps in criminal law on corruption.

Changes in the Criminal Code:

  • In the area of combating corruption, a new provision has been created in § 74 para. 1 no. 4d Austrian Criminal Code with the definition of "candidates for office". Subsequently, criminal liability was extended to such "candidates for office" in § 304 para. 1a StGB and § 307 para. 1a StGB.

  • According to the newly introduced criminal provision of "buying a mandate" in § 265a StGB, it should be punishable for third parties if they buy a list position for "their candidate". The aim is to prevent reaching mandates in general representative bodies from in return for payment. This is not intended to interfere with the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of political parties to operate (see § 1 para. 3 of the Austrian Political Parties Act 2012). The central element of the offence is exerting influence on the allocation of mandates; however, this includes not only a mandate, but also a place on a list, and both buying and selling are punishable.

  • In the area of accepting benefits in all corruption offenses in the public sector (§§ 304-307b Austrian Criminal Code), an additional qualification has been added for benefits with a value exceeding EUR 300,000, whereby the offender is punished with a prison sentence between one to ten years. A conviction with a prison sentence of more than 6 months will result in the loss of eligibility under the NRWO and the EuWO. These stricter provisions were introduced in order to subject all politicians to a stricter standard of conduct while in office.

  • The power to decide on the use of benefits for charitable purposes (§305 para. 4 no. 2 Austrian Criminal Code) should be vested in the office holder, without the influence of family members.

Changes to the VbVG:

The daily rate for the assessment of the fine imposed for committing a criminal offense, which is regulated in the Association Liability Act, has been significantly increased to EUR 30,000 (upper limit by § 4 (4) VbVG).

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