Denmark Anti-corruption Guide 2022

Published on Jul 5, 2022

1. Is your country a member of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention?


2. Is your country a member of any other bilateral or multilateral conventions on anti-corruption?

Denmark is a part of multiple conventions on anti-corruption such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption, EU conventions (including the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests), the Criminal Convention on Corruption from the Council of Europe (ETS no. 173), and The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).

3. Are there local anti-corruption laws in your country focusing on corporations, not individuals? If yes, what sanctions can be imposed?

No. Companies can only be generally liable for the behavior of the management or other relevant individuals acting on behalf of the company, cf. section 27 of the Danish Penal Code.

4. Can companies be held liable for acts of corruption under civil or administrative law?


5. Is corruption of individuals punishable?

Yes. Section 299 of the Danish Penal Code regulates active bribery and passive bribery in business dealings, i.e., towards or by employees or agents of a company. Section 122 and section 144 regulate bribery of public officials (unduly gives, promises, or offers to someone performing a public function or office with a Danish, foreign, or international public organization).

6. Are facilitation payments allowed?


7. Is there a legal regulation/maximum limit for accepting or giving gifts, invitations, etc.?

No. In the public sector, The Ministry of Finance (Moderniseringsstyrelsen), Local Government Denmark (KL), and Danish Regions (Danske Regioner) have published a "Code of conduct in the Public Sector," which states that as a general rule, public officials are not allowed to receive gifts or benefits of any kind. Exemptions are only made in special cases. Special codes of conduct exist in various businesses (e.g., the Financial sector) for the private sector. EU regulation on the marketing of medical devices and medicine is in force in Denmark.

8. Are bribes to foreign government officials prohibited?

Yes, cf section 122 of the Danish Penal Code (quoted in question 8).

9. Does your legislation have any extraterritorial reach?

Yes, the bribery of foreign public officials is a crime subject to Danish jurisdiction, cf. Danish Penal Code section 122, cf. sections 6 – 9.

10. Is it possible to confiscate assets from the company?

Yes, cf. Danish Penal Code section 75, the proceeds of a criminal act, or a corresponding amount, may be confiscated in full or in part. Where the basis for determining the size of such an amount is insufficient, an amount deemed equivalent to the proceeds made may be confiscated. If the proceeds are transferred to a legal person over which the relevant person exercises control, whether alone or jointly with his significant others, the proceeds may be subject to forfeiture, cf section 76a.

11. Does your legislation rely on deferred prosecution or non-prosecution agreements or any other type of non-trial resolution for corruption?


12. Can a company be liable for the acts of its intermediaries or third parties?

Yes. To establish criminal liability, an offense must have been committed by a legal person in the course of its activities and that offense must have been caused by one or more natural persons connected to the legal person or by the legal person as such, cf. Danish Penal Code section 27.

13. Can a parent company be liable for the acts of its subsidiaries?

No. Only the company that has gained an economic advantage from the crime should be prosecuted (cf. Administrative Order from the National Prosecutor, RM 5/1999 pkt. 3.1.5). It is also stated that a crime committed in a subsidiary company (or in a group of companies controlled by a parent entity where the decisions de facto is made in the subsidiary company) should result in a case against the subsidiary company only. A case against a parent company is only relevant where the crime has been committed "in the parent company," that is, if the relevant decisions leading to a violation have been made there. The parent entity does not have a strict responsibility for actions or omissions in the subsidiary company.

14. Are there any affirmative defenses or exceptions for those accused of corruption acts?

No. However, it is recognized in case law that the existence of appropriate compliance management systems can lead to a reduced sentence for a company in a criminal case caused by acts or omissions by the management or employees.

15. Does your jurisdiction require domestic entities to implement anti-corruption internal programs?

No. Special rules apply to companies providing investment services and credit and financial services institutions. Special rules also apply to private entities receiving funding from the government.

16. Is having a compliance program a defense or mitigating factor, while reviewing sanctions?

Yes, see question 16 above.

17. Could the cooperation with the authorities or an internal investigation be a defense or mitigating factor?

According to the Penal Code section 82, it is a mitigating factor that the offender voluntarily reported himself to the authorities and made a full confession, that the offender has provided information crucial to solving criminal acts committed by others, or that the offender has remedied or attempted to remedy the damage caused by the criminal act.

In addition, it is recognized in case law that cooperation with authorities or an internal investigation can mitigate liability.

18. Is there any publicly available guideline issued by the authorities in charge of enforcing anti-corruption laws? For example, manuals on compliance programs, leniency agreements, etc. If so, please provide the link.

Code of conduct in the public sector:


Poul Gade,