Vietnam's anti-corruption laws bolstered

On January 1, 2018 Vietnam's new Penal Code (the "New Code") became effective.  The New Code enhances Vietnam's anti-corruption laws and expands the range of covered offences to the private sector for profit-based commercial entities.

Till the new Code requirements came into effect Vietnam's bribery statutes focused on the bribery of public officials.  Now, the new Code prohibits offering bribes to persons in the private sector and introduces corporate criminal liability for tax evasion and money laundering.      

Key Amendments

  • Prohibits bribes offered to or accepted by "persons with positions and/or powers" in the public and private sector
  • Prohibits bribing foreign public officials
  • Introduces corporate liability for tax evasion (Article 200); terrorist financing (Article 300); and money laundering (Article 324)
  • The death penalty for receiving bribes has been removed

Other Observations

  • The new Code does not extend liability for commercial bribery offences to corporations - it is still only applicable to individuals
  • To be applicable, the inducements must be offered with corrupt intent
  • Penalties for giving and receiving bribes depend on a trigger threshold of 88 USD (VND 2 million)

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