"No science is immune to the infection
of politics and the corruption of power."

Jacob Bronowski
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Corruptive Use of Inside Information

 

Informing a relative about them being included in an inspection sample

A Department Head has forwarded the authority’s Inspector an inspection sample i.e. a list of undertakings having applied for a grant and being selected for an inspection. The Inspector finds his self-employed relative in the inspection sample. The Inspector knows that his relative has not yet cut the grass on his pastures. But the grass-cutting of pastures is a prerequisite that an applicant must meet by a certain date.

No 

The authority’s inspection sample is intended for internal use only. Informing one’s relative means giving unjustified advantage over other applicants. If the close relative cuts the grass on his pastures only for the time of the inspection then it constitutes unequal treatment because the other applicants did not know when the inspection would take place. Therefore, the Supervisory Inspector must not inform his relative by private channels. The Supervisory Inspector should also remove himself when the activity of his close relative is being inspected.

Using a public database for the benefit of a friend

A Ministry’s official is authorised to use the Commercial Register’s database for official duties, in order to verify the economic situation of the service providers being the Ministry’s contract parties. The official’s friend is an entrepreneur whose company is looking for a reliable co-operation partner. The entrepreneur asks the official to forward her the financial indicators of five potential co-operation partners for the past three years; this way, she could obtain a free excerpt of voluminous documentation. The official has free access to the Register, while an ordinary user has to pay for the excerpt of every document. The official agrees to help her friend and forwards her the excerpts of documents from the Commercial Registrar that she asked for.

No

The database is a public register, but ordinary users must pay a fee, in order to reduce queries driven by curiosity. In the situation described here, the official’s acquaintance acts in the interests of her company (a background check of co-operation partners) and for monetary savings and presumes that as the official knows her, she will get the excerpts from her for free. By helping an acquaintance, the official exceeds the authorisation granted to her for her official duties, pursuant to which she has the right to use the Register only to determine the economic situation of the Ministry’s contractual partners. Also, with her behaviour, the official may cause her acquaintance to have an expectation that she may ask for free excerpts from the official in the future as well.

Using a secret database for the benefit of one’s spouse

A former spouse asks an employee of a police prefecture to see the police database about a traffic fine issued to his son. The database is intended solely for police work and also contains the telephone number of the person who reported the son’s offence to the police.

No

The use of that database for the benefit of one’s spouse is not allowed because police databases are intended solely for work purposes. In certain cases, such an act can be deemed an offence as well, for example if unlawfully disclosing delicate personal data (Penal Code, § 1571) or if unlawfully disclosing surveillance data and information about pre-trial investigation of a criminal case (Penal Code, § 3161).