How will an arbitrator be punished for accepting bribes?

How will an arbitrator be punished for accepting bribes?
Posted date: 23/03/2024

Legal situation: 


Hello FDVN legal lawyer. Our company, Company C, engaged in a transaction with Company A, but subsequently, Company A delayed fulfilling its payment obligations. After applying several measures without success in getting Company A to comply with the agreement, I filed a lawsuit with Arbitration Center B for resolution. During the arbitration process, we went from being the rightful party to being deemed at fault. Upon receiving the arbitration award, I found out the signs of bribery. If I can prove the act of bribery, will this arbitration award be invalidated? Additionally, how will an arbitrator who accepts bribes be penalized? Thank you.


FDVN’s opinion:


Thank you for submitting your question to FDVN Law Firm ("FDVN"). In response to your consultation request, after researching relevant legal regulations, FDVN would like to present our opinion as follows:


There are legal provisions for handling the act of bribery during arbitration proceedings as follows:


Administrative penalties are stipulated in Point d, Clause 2, Article 27 of Decree No. 82/2020/NĐ-CP as follows:


"1. A fine ranging from 10,000,000 VND to 20,000,000 VND for one of the following acts:


d) Resolving disputes when there is clear evidence that the arbitrator is not impartial, objective."


Thus, if an arbitrator engages in bribery, he/she may be subject to an administrative penalty of up to VND 20,000,000  as per the provisions of the law.


Regarding criminal liability, according to Article 354 of the Penal Code 2015, the offender who accepts bribes shall be punished as follows: 


"1. Any person who abuses his/her power to directly or through an intermediary receive or promise to receive any of the following benefits for himself/herself or for another person or organization as a condition to act or not to act in the interests of or at the request of the bribe giver shall face a penalty of 02 - 07 years' imprisonment:


a) Money, property or other tangible benefit assessed at from VND 2,000,000 to under VND 100,000,000 or under VND 2,000,000 but the bribe recipient has incurred a disciplinary penalty for the same offence or has an unspent conviction for any of the offences specified in Section 1 of this Chapter ;


b) Intangible benefits.




4. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 20 years' imprisonment, life imprisonment or death.


5. The offender might also be prohibited from holding certain positions or doing certain jobs for 01 - 05 years, liable to a fine of from VND 30,000,000 to VND 100,000,000 or have part or all of his/her property confiscated."


At the same time, Point d, Clause 2, Article 68 of the Law on Commercial Arbitration 2010 provides for the annulment of arbitration awards in the following cases:


"Evidence provided by the parties upon which the Arbitration Council relied for its decision is forged; An arbitrator receives money, property, or other material benefits from one party to the dispute, affecting the impartiality and fairness of the arbitration award."


In this case, if you can prove that the arbitrator accepted a bribe, you may request the Court to annul the arbitration award.


Nguyen Thi Hoai Linh - FDVN Law Firm.




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