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Austrian plans to make bribing of politicians a crime

A new law drafted by Austria's justice ministry says that bribing members of parliament is to become a criminal offence punishable with a maximum sentence of three years.

At present it was not possible to charge members of the national or provincial parliaments for taking bribes, as no laws to that extent existed, Christian Manquet, of the Justice Ministry said on Austrian radio on Wednesday morning. Currently only the charge of 'illegal intervention' existed, that was only applied in very rare cases. Manquet, who drafted the law, said the draft would be discussed in parliament before summer and could be passed in autumn, closing this particular legal loophole.

The new anti-bribery law will however not be applicable for cabinet members. Ministers, provincial governors or mayors are subject to the anti-bribery regulations for civil servants applicable for this group according to Austrian criminal law. As a reaction to joining the UN anti-corruption convention, Austria is also working on anti-corruption laws for the private sector and plans to overhaul its regulations concerning blackmail. (