OECD very concerned that active bribery is no longer a felony in Greece


10/07/2019 - The OECD Working Group on Bribery has serious concerns that recent steps taken by Greece may leave the country in breach of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention. On 11 June 2019, Greece amended the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes. As a result, the main active bribery offence was converted from felony [1] to a misdemeanour, which is a less serious offence. The Working Group is concerned that this amendment may have far-reaching ramifications, ranging from the closure of ongoing corruption-related investigations and prosecutions, to possible hindrance of international cooperation in future cases and shorter limitations period. The Codes entered into force on 1 July 2019, having been adopted in the last session before Parliament was dissolved ahead of national elections, which took place on 7 July 2019.


The OECD Working Group on Bribery will conduct a supplementary Phase 3ter review of Greece, with an on-site visit in the fall of 2019 and the publication of an evaluation report in December 2019.[2] The evaluation will be conducted jointly with the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), which also decided to carry out an urgent evaluation of Greece’s amendments to its Criminal Code. Depending on the results of this evaluation, the OECD Working Group may decide that further appropriate measures are necessary, including the possibility of a High Level Mission to Greece. The OECD Working Group has also agreed to issue a letter that will be sent to the Greek Prime Minister. The letter will outline serious concerns about the potential impact of the revised anti-corruption criminal measures.

This is the second time the Working Group has decided to undertake a supplementary examination of Greece. In 2012, Greece failed to promptly investigate a significant foreign bribery case and to provide timely information on its anti-bribery efforts, and, as a result, the Working Group on Bribery conducted a Phase 3bis evaluation in 2015.


For more information on the implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in Greece, please visit:

For further information, journalists should contact Daisy Pelham of the OECD Anti-Corruption Division (+ 33 1 45 24 90 81) or the OECD Media Division (+ 33 1 45 24 97 00).


Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.


[1] Criminal offences in Greece are divided into felonies and misdemeanours. Under new article 18 CC, felony is any act punishable by imprisonment (κάθειρξη), either for lifetime or temporary.

[2] Should this legislation be withdrawn and the active bribery offence be reclassified as a felony as it was before the revision of the Codes on 11 June 2019, the necessity of conducting a supplementary evaluation will be reviewed.


Related Documents