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Report No. 258

F. Republic of Korea (South Korea)37

37 The information on the Republic of Korea has been taken from the Executive summary on South Korea, Note by the Secretariat, Fourth Session of the Implementation Review Group, Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UN Doc. No. CAC/COSP/IRG/I/3/1/Add.7 (2013).

3.7.1 The Republic of Korea signed the UNCAC in 2003 and ratified it in 2008. Articles 133, 129 and 130 of the Criminal Act of the Republic of Korea penalise both active and passive bribery of national public officials as required under clauses (a) and (b) of Article 15 of the UNCAC. The term "public official" as defined under Article 2 of the State Public Officials Act and Article 2 of the Local Public Officials Act covers a broad range of individuals including appointed and elected officials, members of the judiciary and prosecutors.

3.7.2 Korean law also criminalises active bribery of foreign public officials and officials of public international organisations as required under paragraph 1 of Article 16 of the UNCAC. Under the Act on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business, Articles 2 and 3 cover all elements of active bribery as envisaged under paragraph 1 of Article 16 of the UNCAC.

However, the offence of passive bribery under paragraph 2 of Article 16 of the UNCAC is not specifically outlawed. Nevertheless, the Republic of Korea can prosecute passive bribery of foreign public officials and officials of public international organisations under the Criminal Act through its provision on the "breach of trust". Such officials can also be subject to prosecution for money-laundering operations.

3.7.3 In the context of Articles 4 and 42 of the UNCAC, Articles 2, 3, 4, 6 of the Criminal Act adequately discuss the instances where jurisdiction can be exercised including under the principle of territoriality. In addition, the Republic of Korea also exercises jurisdiction over its nationals who commit crimes outside its territory, and over offences against itself and its nationals outside its borders.

3.7.4 In March 2015, the Republic of Korea promulgated a new Anti-Corruption Law. However on account of strong criticism on several counts, the law was challenged before the Constitutional Court and has therefore not been brought into force.38

38 Jeyup S. Kwaak, 'South Korea Lawmakers Approve Anticorruption Law', The Wall Street Journal (March 3, 2015), available at
<>, last visited on 8th August, 2015; see also South Korea: Controversial Anti-Corruption Law Promulgated, available at, last visited on 8th August, 2015.

Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations - A Study and Proposed Amendments Back

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