The fight against international corruption has become a primary criminal policy objective at a global level. The ‘accumulation’ of regulations highlights the growing commitment to legality and, at the same time, the development of a perspective of global control of financial illegalities by some States. In such a context, the Italian experience, centred around the adoption of the multiple reforms of art. 322-bis of the penal code, appears rather poor on applicative grounds, with just a dozen of corrupt schemes being currently prosecuted. This seems to be connected to factual data, related to the difficulty of reconstruct criminal offences at an investigative and evidentiary level, but also to legislative options, such as the choice of criminalising only some of the possible forms of corruption. Most of all, a considerable role has been played by a not always fair use of interpretative instruments, sometimes aimed at inappropriately restrict the scope of application of the criminalising norms and more often at broadening the net of penal legislation. The investigation brings us to observe that the Italian system has actually pursued an overall stiffening of the preventive and repressive strategy of ‘domestic’ corruption, using international corruption as a convenient vector with a safe legitimation and a great symbolic power.
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