Gifts to Company’s Officials
Why is it dangerous to give/take business gifts?
Sometimes, you may want to express your gratitude to a colleague (partner) for some good job, or after successful negotiations. However, it is important to remember that certain issues may arise when a company’s official receives a gift or a reward.
In the Russian Federation, there is the Federal Act dated 25.12.2008 No. 273-FZ On Anti-Corruption Measures, which prohibits officials and other persons performing their job duties from taking gifts and rewards. Such gifts are deemed to be the company’s property.
Item 7 part 3 clause 12.1 of the Act explicitly prohibits taking such rewards (loans, money or other incentives, services, free entertainment, leisure, transport) and gifts from individuals or legal entities in relation to the person’s official (job) duties, which are non-compliant with the laws of the Russian Federation. The Civil Code of Russia, clause 575, also states that officials cannot take gifts as the benefit of their position.
Gifts can be non-reciprocal only, i.e. a giver cannot get anything in response from a taker (no matter, a service or a thing). Otherwise, it is not a present, but a true bribe. Such occasions are treated under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which explicitly states that bribery is a crime subject to serious punishment. Even if the official, who had taken a bribe, did nothing, and was not planning to do anything for that, he or she may face penalty for fraud.
The United Nations International Anti-Corruption Convention ratified by Russia in 2006 states that money gifts are a form of commercial bribery.
What should I do with a business gift?
In accordance with the existing Russian federal and regional regulations, and the order of Rosatom No. 1/476-P dated 22.05.2014 (and the Statement thereto), the following rules apply to gifts received by officials:
- Three working days from the date of receipt – an official shall report on the gift within this period of time. The official shall notify the relevant division of his/her company.
- The gift, whether expensive or not, shall be handed over to an authorized person for price estimation and storage. The only exceptions are flowers, office accessories, commendations and awards
- A gift may be returned to the recipient, if its price is below 3,000 rubles. 3,000 rubles is the borderline between lawful behaviour and a dereliction subject to penalty.
- Gifts which cost more than 3,000 rubles shall be handed over with an acceptance certificate. It shall be done within 5 working days after the registration of the gift notice.
- The official can buy the gift back within two months from the date of handing it over to the authorized person by filing the corresponding application.
- The gift may be used for the needs of the company, sold in an auction, destroyed, or given to a charity. The proceeds shall be credited to the employer’s account.
- Violation of the above requirements may lead to a disciplinary action.
- If a gift comes without the knowledge of the official, it shall be included in the scope of the company’s specialized assets. It shall be done within 7 days.
What else should I know?
If the giver’s and the taker’s actions imply some reciprocal behaviour, bribery is possible. In this case, the act of giving shall be deemed null and void.
Formal commendation (award) from the management, and gifting, shall be clearly differentiated. Commendations and incentives are regulated by labour laws. The amount of such incentives can be much more than 3,000 rubles, but there is no breach of law in this case.
Violation of the above rules and regulations is the breach of anti-corruption laws and work ethics. It may lead to the conflict of interests and the related disciplinary actions (including termination of employment), or even bring criminal liability under Clause 290 of the Criminal Code of Russia (bribery).
The person authorized to receive gift notices and estimate gift prices in RASU JSC:
Mr. Konstantin Bobrov, Head of Administration and Maintenance Department, tel.: +7 (495) 933-43-40, ext. 407, е-mail: KoNBobrov@rasu.ru