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Venality is a vice associated with being bribeable or willing to sell one's services or power, especially when people are intended to act in a decent way instead. In its most recognizable form, venality causes people to lie and steal for their own personal advantage, and is related to bribery and nepotism, among other vices. Though not in line with dictionary definitions of the term, [1] modern writers often use it to connote vices only tangentially related to bribery or self-interest, such as cruelty, selfishness, and general dishonesty.



Venality in its mild form is a vice notable especially among those with government or military careers. For example, the Ancien Régime in France from the 1500s through the late 1700s, was notorious for the venality of many government officials. [2] In these fields, one is ideally supposed to act with justice and honor and not accept bribes. That ensures that the organization is not susceptible to manipulation by self-interested parties.

In contrast to the previous interpretation, dishonesty is not specifically expressed in the literal meaning, but is often implied. The condition of failing to act justly is not a literal component of the word's meaning either. By definition, committing "venal" acts does not indicate "stealing" or "lying", but rather suggests a consensual arrangement, perhaps without conscience or regard for consequences, but is not synonymous with stealing. While bribery could be related, nepotism clearly has no literal similarity or correlation with venality. Though venality is generally used as a pejorative term, an individual or entity could be venal (or mercenary) and not be corrupt or unethical. One could perform one's duties or job in a perfunctory manner in order to collect a wage or payment, or prostitute one's time or skills for monetary or material gain, without necessarily being dishonest.

Much contemporary use of the words venal or venality is applied to modern professional athletes, particularly baseball, basketball, American football, and soccer players all around the world. The implication being that the highly paid players are essentially "hired guns" with no allegiance to any team or city, and are motivated solely by the acquisition of material wealth.[ citation needed ]

In revolution and other moral panics

For people to accept settlements and legislation, the acts of the government must be seen as just. This perception enhances the legitimacy of the government. Venality is a term often used with reference to pre-revolutionary France, where it describes the then-widespread practice of selling administrative positions within the government to the highest bidder, especially regarding the Nobles of the Robe.

Thus, for example, venality was a charge for which, in part, Danton and others were executed during the Reign of Terror.

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Theft Act of taking anothers property without permission or consent

Theft is the taking of another person's property or services or scrap money without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word theft is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting, library theft or fraud. In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny; in others, theft has replaced larceny. Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career out of theft is known as a thief.

Political corruption Use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain

Political corruption or Malpolitics is the use of powers by government officials or their network contacts for illegitimate private gain.

Bribery Corrupt solicitation, acceptance, or transfer of value in exchange for official action

Bribery is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official, or other person, in charge of a public or legal duty. With regard to governmental operations, essentially, bribery is "Corrupt solicitation, acceptance, or transfer of value in exchange for official action." Gifts of money or other items of value which are otherwise available to everyone on an equivalent basis, and not for dishonest purposes, is not bribery. Offering a discount or a refund to all purchasers is a legal rebate and is not bribery. For example, it is legal for an employee of a Public Utilities Commission involved in electric rate regulation to accept a rebate on electric service that reduces their cost for electricity, when the rebate is available to other residential electric customers. However, giving a discount specifically to that employee to influence them to look favorably on the electric utility's rate increase applications would be considered bribery.


Sacrilege is the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object, site or person. This can take the form of irreverence to sacred persons, places, and things. When the sacrilegious offence is verbal, it is called blasphemy, and when physical, it is often called desecration. In a less proper sense, any transgression against what is seen as the virtue of religion would be a sacrilege, and so is coming near a sacred site without permission. The term "sacrilege" originates from the Latin sacer, meaning sacred, and legere, meaning to steal. In Roman times it referred to the plundering of temples and graves. By the time of Cicero, sacrilege had adopted a more expansive meaning, including verbal offences against religion and undignified treatment of sacred objects.

Police corruption is a form of police misconduct in which law enforcement officers end up breaking their political contract and abuse their power for personal gain. This type of corruption may involve one or a group of officers. Internal police corruption is a challenge to public trust, cohesion of departmental policies, human rights and legal violations involving serious consequences. Police corruption can take many forms, such as bribery.

There is no universal agreement on the definition of terrorism. Various legal systems and government agencies use different definitions of terrorism. Moreover, governments have been reluctant to formulate an agreed-upon and legally binding definition. Difficulties arise from the fact that the term has become politically and emotionally charged. Since 1994, the United Nations General Assembly has condemned terrorist acts using the following political description of terrorism:

Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) is a United States federal law that prohibits U.S. citizens and entities from bribing foreign government officials to benefit their business interests.

Corruption Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power

Corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal offense undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, to acquire illicit benefit or abuse power for one's private gain. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Political corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain. Corruption is most commonplace in kleptocracies, oligarchies, narco-states and mafia states.

The Hobbs Act, named after US Representative Sam Hobbs (D-AL) and codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1951, is a US federal law enacted in 1946 that provides:

(a) Whoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion or attempts or conspires to do so, commits, or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

Foreign official or foreign public official refers to a person who acts in an official capacity for a foreign government. The term is chiefly used in connection with international conventions and national laws against corruption in international trade.

Travel Act

Travel Act or International Travel Act of 1961, 18 U.S.C. § 1952, is a Federal criminal statute which forbids the use of the U.S. mail, or interstate or foreign travel, for the purpose of engaging in certain specified criminal acts.

Theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds is a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. § 666. The purpose of this statute is protect the integrity of the vast sums of money distributed through federal programs. The section is designed to facilitate the prosecution of persons who steal money or otherwise divert property or services from state and local governments or private organizations—for example, universities, foundations and business corporations—that receive large amounts of federal funds.

Corruption in Uzbekistan Institutional corruption in the country

Corruption in Uzbekistan is a serious problem. There are laws in place to prevent corruption, but the enforcement is very weak. Low prosecution rates of corrupt officials is another contributing factor to the rampant corruption in Uzbekistan. It is not a criminal offense for a non-public official to influence the discretion of a public official. The judicial system faces severe functional deficits due to limited resources and corruption.

Corruption in Vietnam Institutional corruption in the country

Overall, corruption in Vietnam is characterised by a weak legal infrastructure, financial unpredictability, and conflicting and negative bureaucratic decision-making. Surveys reveal that petty corruption has decreased significantly throughout the country, while high-level corruption has increased. Corruption is considered an obstacle for doing business in Vietnam, and the use of facilitation payments are widespread when dealing with frontline civil servants. Corruption has moved up the political agenda in Vietnam, and the legal framework for tackling corruption is now better developed.

Corruption in Sudan Institutional corruption in the country

Corruption in Sudan is substantial, as it is considered one of the most corrupt nations in the world. On Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, Sudan ranked 177th out of 183 countries. On the 2010 World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators, on one hundred point scale, it scored in the single digits in every category, including 0.9 for political stability, 6.2 for rule of law, 7.2 for regulatory quality, 6.7 for government effectiveness, and 4.3 for control of corruption. It ranked 174th in the 2013 Corruption Perception Index. In 2011 Freedom House named Sudan as one of the worst nations for human rights.

Corruption in Tajikistan Institutional corruption in the country

Corruption in Tajikistan is a widespread phenomenon that is found in all spheres of Tajik society. The situation is essentially similar to that in the other former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Reliable specifics about corruption can be difficult to come by, however, as can hard information about the effectiveness of supposed anti-corruption initiatives.

Corruption in Guinea-Bissau Institutional corruption in the country

Corruption in Guinea-Bissau is among the highest levels in the world. In Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2014, it was ranked 161st out of 175 countries. The previous year, it was at 163rd out of 177 countries. This marked a decline from its 2012 ranking, 150th out of 174 countries. In 2013, Guinea-Bissau scored below the averages for both Africa and West Africa on the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Index of African Governance.

Corruption in Turkmenistan Institutional corruption in the country

Corruption in Turkmenistan is considered by many independent sources as a serious problem. The country is near the bottom of several annual indices that measure corruption, including 'The Wall Street Journal''s Index of Economic Freedom. Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 167th place out of 180 countries.

Anti-corruption (anticorruption) comprise activities that oppose or inhibit corruption. Just as corruption takes many forms, anti-corruption efforts vary in scope and in strategy. A general distinction between preventive and reactive measures is sometimes drawn. In such framework, investigative authorities and their attempts to unveil corrupt practices would be considered reactive, while education on the negative impact of corruption, or firm-internal compliance programs are classified as the former.

This glossary contains Brazilian terms related to criminal or corruption investigations, and supporting concepts from politics, the law, government, criminology, and law enforcement.


  2. Andrews, Richard Mowery (1994) Law, Magistracy, and Crime in Old Regime Paris, 1735-1789: Volume 1, The System of Criminal Justice, Cambridge University Press