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Jul 05, 2012

German High Court Judgment on Bribery of Physicians Casts Spotlight on Public Official and B2B Corruption

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In a recent decision, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof - BGH), Germany’s highest court, acquitted a sales representative of a major German pharmaceutical company who, as part of the company's bonus program, had handed out cash amounts to doctors in exchange for prescribing that company's products. The Court’s decision serves to draw a line respecting the term “public official” and clarifies that bribing a business owner is not punishable under German criminal law. Thus, the decision illustrates that not every kind of questionable or even unethical business conduct will qualify as criminally sanctionable corruption as a matter of German law.

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