criminal law


December 09, 2022



| Your comment matters, please click here to rate article!

Bribe and blackmail are two different concepts under criminal law. Bribe is generally understood to mean offering a gift or a benefit to another person who is in a position of power or who holds a public office, in exchange for a favor which may not be in line with his duties. On the other hand, blackmail may be understood as coercing a person to do certain acts by threatening adverse consequences if he does not commit such acts.

What does the UAE law say about bribe?

While the UAE does not have a separate anti-bribery law, the Federal Decree-Law No 31 of 2021 On the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law provides criminal sanctions for actions of bribery.

Articles 275 to 287 of the UAE Penal Code set out the relevant provisions related to bribery, including the actions which constitute bribe and the penalties entailed.

In accordance with Article 275 of the UAE Penal Code, any public official, including a foreign public official or a person assigned to a public service or an employee of an international organization, who engages in bribery will be punished with temporary imprisonment. Temporary imprisonment is understood to mean imprisonment between 3 years to 15 years, unless the law provides otherwise.

The act of bribery could include demanding, accepting or receiving gifts, benefits, or a promise of such gifts, benefits, in order for the concerned public official to either act or omit to act in the course of his duties or violate his duties. Article 275 is set out below.

"Article 275

Every public official or person assigned to a public service or foreign public official or an employee of an international organisation who, demands, accepts, or receives, either directly or indirectly, an undue gift, benefit, or grant, or is promised of the same, whether to the employee himself or to another person or another entity or establishment, in order to perform or to omit an act included within the duties of his office or in the course of such office, or to violate his duties, even if he has not intended to perform or to omit the act or to violate the duties of his office, or if the demand, acceptance, or receipt is done after the performance or omission of the said act or after the violation of duties, shall be sentenced to temporary imprisonment.”

Additionally, a person employed or managing an establishment in a private sector who is engaging in bribery, whether by demanding or accepting such bribes, could also be liable for penalties. The punishment includes imprisonment for a period not exceeding 5 years. The concept has been explained in Article 278 of the UAE Penal Code, as set out below.

“Article 278

Any person managing an entity or establishment of the private sector, or employed in whatsoever capacity for either one, who demands or accepts, either directly or indirectly, an undue gift, benefit, or grant, or is promised of the same, whether to the person himself or to another, in order to perform or to omit an act included within the duties of his office or an act which constitutes a violation of the said duties, even if he has not intended to perform or to omit the act, or if the demand, acceptance, or promise is done after the performance or omission of the said act, shall be sentenced to temporary imprisonment for a period not exceeding five (5) years.”

However, an exception has been provided under Article 284 of the UAE Penal Code, under which if the briber or the bribe taker reports the crime to judicial or administrative authorities prior to discovery of the bribery, he will be exempt from punishment.

What are the key provisions related to blackmail?

Under Article 402 of the UAE Penal Code, if a person threatens another person against his life or property, or life or property of a third person, or threatens to disclose matters against the honour, when such matter is associated with a request or assignment to act or omit an act or intended for such purpose, such person will be sentenced to temporary imprisonment for a period not exceeding 7 years.

Additionally, under the Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021 Concerning the Fight Against Rumors and Cybercrime (Cybercrime), extortion or threatening another person electronically, to make him perform an act or abstain from doing such act is punishable under Article 42. The punishment includes imprisonment for maximum 2 years and / or fines ranging from AED 250,000 to AED 500,000.

Related Links

Copyright © of this article is retained by the author and/or other copyright owners. We explicitly grant you permission to download a copy, without any alteration, of this article for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or any charge. This article can be utilized on your website or for marketing, however, we grant you permission to host this article on your website and no other rights. This content should not be altered in any way or sold commercially in any format without prior permission of the copyright holder. During reference of this article, full biographic details entailing the name of the author, his designation, the institute and the publishing date of the article shall be provided.


No comments found.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to know more?
Then talk to us.

Client Testimonials

I owe the success of my case to Dr. Hassan's diligent approach. He remained focused, put me at ease and always went the extra mile. Dr. Hassan tirelessly put my case in the best possible light and I cannot thank him enough. I would highly recommend Dr. Hassan - I am grateful to him from the bottom of my heart.

Raphael Lauria
Manager, FME General Trading

Dr. Hassan Elhais is among the best legal consultants I have ever worked with. He has an amazing ability to reduce complex issues into a simple concept that non-legal people can understand. He consistently develops innovative litigation strategies that help us to achieve our ultimate legal goals.

Zhuo Liu

...the extraordinary effort that has been exerted by the staff, and we specially thank Dr. Hassan Mohsen Alhais. Wishing your continues success & excellence...

H.H. Sheikh Saeed Bin
Mohammed Hashir Al Maktoum

I believe everyone should recognize what a difference Dr. Hassan Elhais work has made to people's lives; and especially to our family's life, because we will remain forever grateful to each and every one of his team.

Luis Pozueco

Dr. Hassan Elhais never fears cases that involve exposure and he always gives me his honest assessment of our chances of success, which is invaluable to me.

Bassam Yamout
Director, JM Metal Trading LCC

He aided us not only in providing legal advice but also in all legal issues that required a long term strategic approach to achieve most favorable and optimum outcomes he provided us with high level of professional service.

Philippe Delbecq

Dr. Hassan Elhais is a responsible, reputable counsel who operates to high levels of service.

British Client

Dr Hassan Elhais is responsive, thorough and creative with his advice, and is a valued advisor and legal consultant.

Asma Mattar
Manager, Italian Style

Regardless of the complexity of the matter I know Dr. Hassan Elhais will consider not only legal strategy but also business practicalities in providing advice and litigation options.

Dr. Massimo Hakim
Chairman, Italian Style

I recommend Dr. Hassan Elhais to anyone who says 'I'm in legal trouble'. I was extremely satisfied with the high standard of his work. He has always been there when I have needed him and I refer all my clients, family and friends to him/his firm.

Manish Gupta
Marketing Manager, Express Digital System

Dr. Hassan Elhais was very professional and he listened to my needs. He was very prompt, efficient and always kept me informed. Dr. Hassan Elhais's service was excellent and I would definitely recommend him to friends and colleagues.

James Horsley
British Client

Select your Language:


Main Menu