Criminal law

What is the difference between bribery and extortion? | Pioneers Advocates and Legal Consultants


Bribery and extortion are two different concepts under criminal law. Bribery is generally understood to mean offering a gift or benefit to another person in a position of authority or public office, in exchange for a service that may be inconsistent with his or her duties. On the other hand, extortion can be understood as forcing someone to perform certain actions by threatening negative consequences if he does not commit such acts.

What does UAE law say about bribery?

While the UAE does not have a separate anti-bribery law, Federal Decree Law No. 31 of 2021 promulgating the Crimes and Penal Code provides criminal penalties for acts of bribery.

Articles 275 to 287 of the UAE Penal Code specify the relevant provisions relating to bribery, including the acts that constitute bribery and the penalties involved.

According to Article 275 of the UAE Penal Code, any public employee, including a foreign public employee, a person charged with a public service, or an employee of an international organization, who engages in bribery shall be punished with temporary imprisonment. Temporary imprisonment means imprisonment for a period ranging from three to 15 years, unless the law stipulates otherwise.

The act of bribery may include requesting, accepting or receiving gifts or benefits, or promising such gifts or benefits, so that the public official concerned may act or refrain from acting in the performance of his or her duties or in breach of his or her duties. Article 275 is shown below.

“Article 275

Every public employee, person assigned to a public service, foreign public employee, or employee of an international organization requests, accepts, or receives, directly or indirectly, an undeserved gift, benefit, or grant, or promises to do so, whether to the employee himself or to another person, entity, or institution. Other, in order to perform or abstain from doing an act that falls within the duties of his job or in the context of that job, or to breach his duties, even if he did not intend to carry out or abstain from doing the work or breach the duties of his job, or if the request, acceptance or receipt was made after performing The aforementioned act or omission or after breach of duties shall be punished with temporary imprisonment. the prison.”

In addition, a person who works or manages an organization in the private sector who engages in bribery, whether by demanding or accepting such bribes, could also be subject to sanctions. The penalty includes imprisonment for a period not exceeding 5 years. This concept is explained in Article 278 of the UAE Penal Code, as shown below.

“Article 278

Anyone who manages an establishment or establishment in the private sector, or works in any capacity for any of them, requests or accepts, whether directly or indirectly, an undeserved gift, benefit, grant, or promise to do so, whether to a person himself or to someone else, in order to carry out Or abstaining from an act that falls within the scope of his job duties, or an act that constitutes a breach of the aforementioned duties, even if he did not intend to perform this act or abstain from it, or if the request, acceptance, or promise was made after performing the aforementioned act or abstaining from it, he shall be punished with temporary imprisonment. A period not exceeding five years.

However, an exception has been provided under Article 284 of the UAE Penal Code, according to which if the briber or bribe person reports the crime to the judicial or administrative authorities before the bribery is discovered, he or she will be exempted from punishment.

What are the basic provisions regarding extortion?

Under Article 402 of the UAE Penal Code, if a person threatens another person with his life or property, or the life or property of a third person, or threatens to disclose matters that are dishonorable, when this is related to a request or assignment to do or abstain from an act or intended for this purpose, then this shall be punished. Person shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding seven years.

In addition, under Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021 regarding Combating Rumors and Electronic Crimes (Cybercrimes), blackmailing or threatening another person electronically to induce him to perform an act or refrain from performing such an act is punishable under Article 42. The penalty includes imprisonment for a maximum period Two years and/or fines ranging from AED 250,000 to AED 500,000.


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