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Anti-Corruption Risk Map – Poland

Primary foreign anti-bribery legislation and enforcement agencies

Penalty Code, 1997 (for an individual)

Act on the liability of collective entities for acts prohibited under penalty, 2002 (for bodies corporate)

Prohibits bribery of foreign and domestic public officials and private bribery

Investigating agencies: the Police (Policja) or the Central Anti-corruption Bureau (CBA – Centralne Biuro Antykorupcyjne)

Prosecuting agency: Prosecutor (Prokurator)


Offering bribes – private to public (art. 229 of the PC)

A person is guilty of an offense if he or she gives or promises to give a material or personal benefit to a person performing a public function.

Peddling influence (art. 230a of the PC)

A person is guilty of an offense if he or she gives, or promises to give, a material or personal benefit in return for interceding in settling a matter in a state or local government institution, international organization or domestic or foreign organization with public funds at its disposal, consisting in unlawfully exerting an influence on a decision, on acting or failing to act by a person performing a public function in connection with this function.

Offering bribes – private to private (art. 296a of the PC)

A person is guilty of an offense if he or she provides or promises to provide a material or personal benefit to anyone who, while in a managerial position in an organizational unit performing business, or in an employment relationship, a service contract or a contract for a specific task, in return for abusing the authority granted to him or her, or for failing an obligation, could inflict material damage on the unit, or constitute an act of unfair competition or an unacceptable act of preference for the buyer or recipient of goods, services or benefits.

Corporate liability arises under the Act on the liability of collective entities for acts prohibited under penalty if four conditions are met jointly:

  1. This offense gives or could give the collective entity an advantage (even that of a nonfinancial nature). Conversely, no company liability will arise if the top management or individuals under the top management’s control act exclusively for his or her own or for a third party’s interest.
  2. This offense is committed by a natural person who: (a) acts on behalf of and in the name of the collective entity under the authority or duty to represent it, to make decisions in its name and/or to exercise internal control, or whenever such person abuses their authority or neglects their duty; (b) is allowed to act as the result of the abuse of the authority or neglect of the duty by such person; (c) acts in the name of or on behalf of the collective entity, with the consent of or with the knowledge of such person (for instance, the holder of a commercial proxy); or (d) is an entrepreneur who directly cooperates with the collective entity towards the realization of a legally admissible purpose.
  3. This offense was committed by this natural person is confirmed by: (a) a valid convicting judgment; (b) a decision to conditionally discontinue the proceedings; (c) a decision to leave voluntary submission to liability; or (d) a decision to discontinue the proceedings due to circumstances, excluding the prosecution of the perpetrator.
  4. This offense is committed because of: (a) the failure to exercise due diligence in electing the natural person, or there is no due supervision over that person; or (b) the organization of activities of the collective entity, which does not protect it from the natural person’s perpetrating of the offense.

Extraterritorial application – Yes, Polish criminal law applies to Polish citizens as well as to foreigners who have committed such offenses abroad. However, there are some exceptions.

Penalties – Criminal and/or Civil Liability

For an individual – Imprisonment (between six months and 12 years), the restriction of liberty (up to two years) or/and a fine (up to PLN1.08 million)

For bodies corporate – Pecuniary fines (up to PLN5 million but not more than 3 percent of the company’s revenue in the year the crime was committed); confiscation; alerting the public about the judgment; and prohibitions (on the promotion and advertising of the business, manufactured or sold goods and provided services; on the use of grants, subsidies or other forms of support from public funds; on access to the European Union’s financial resources; on the use of the help of international organizations of which Poland is a member; and on applying for public contracts)