Offenses of legal persons

Act no. 91/2016 Coll. on the criminal liability of legal persons introduces into the Slovak legal order the criminal liability of legal persons for defined crimes. Thus, not only a specific natural person, but also a legal person, to whom one of the statutory penalties can be imposed, will be able to commit a criminal offense

A legal entity, as an artificial legal construction, cannot itself be liable for proceedings, since natural persons act on behalf of this company. Thus, the newly introduced criminal liability of legal persons raises considerable controversy. It affects the actions of individuals, creating a construct of artificial responsibility. Natural persons shall act on behalf of a legal person and this procedure shall then be legally considered as acting by the legal person itself. The criminal liability of a legal entity thus arises only if the principle of the so-called. the attribution of the conduct of a particular natural person acting on behalf of, in the context of the activity of a legal person, and its actions may be attributed to the legal person itself. A criminal offense is therefore committed by a legal person if it is committed on its behalf, on its behalf, in the course of its activity or through it, if it has acted: or any other person who is authorized to represent or take decisions on the part of a legal entity (eg liquidator, proxy).

Offenses of legal persons

A legal person cannot commit all the offenses specified in the Criminal Code, but only precisely specified. Examples include fraud, embezzlement, credit fraud, insurance fraud, subsidy fraud, violation of the obligation to manage foreign assets, damaging the creditor, favoring the creditor, obstructing bankruptcy proceedings, obstructing execution proceedings, culpable bankruptcy, fraudulent bankruptcy, criminal offense of economic data misrepresentation and business records, then tax offenses tax and insurance shortages, tax and insurance non-payment, tax fraud, non-payment of tax and insurance, obstructing the performance of tax administration and more. It also includes crimes related to corruption, bribery, bribery, indirect corruption, but also smuggling or pimping. It can be expected that a significant proportion of business-related crimes related to taxes, levies and subsidies will be committed.

A legal person may commence a criminal offense only from 1 July 2016, when the law comes into effect. Proceedings which show the characteristics of a criminal offense of a legal person but which were committed before that date cannot be penalized, since they were committed at a time when the criminality of such a legal person's conduct did not exist.

Liability of legal successor

An existing company will not be able to relieve itself of its criminal liability by winding up without liquidation if there is a legal succession. These are cases of merger, merger or division of a legal entity, transfer of capital to a partner, a change in the legal form of a legal entity or the transfer of the registered office of a legal entity abroad. In this case, all legal successors of the dissolved company will be liable. This has breached the fundamental principle of criminal law that the criminal liability of one person cannot be transferred to the other. However, this responsibility cannot be transferred to a natural person.

Effective regret

Like a natural person, a legal person can make effective regret. This may include proceedings where the legal entity has voluntarily abandoned further proceedings to commit a crime and prevented or remedied the harmful effect of the crime. For example, in tax offenses, it is recognized that the payment of a shortened, unpaid or unpaid tax leads to the extinction of the offense against all persons (including natural persons).

Ukladanie trestov právnickým osobám

The following penalties may be imposed for the offense:

  1. penalty of dissolution of a legal entity
  2. forfeiture of property
  3. forfeiture
  4. punishment
  5. penalty of disqualification
  6. punishment of the ban on receiving subsidies or subsidies
  7. punishment of the ban on receiving assistance and support from EU funds
  8. punishment of the ban on participation in public procurement
  9. punishment of the publication of the conviction

The legal person's penalty can be imposed only on a legal person having its registered office in the territory of the Slovak Republic. The legal person enters into liquidation by the validity of the decision imposing the penalty of dissolution of a legal entity. In the case of the forfeiture of assets, the assets that remain after the insolvency proceedings are terminated are directly attributable to the State. A legal person may be fined between EUR 1500 and EUR 1 600 000. A disqualification penalty may be imposed for one to ten years, but only if the offense has been committed in connection with this.

Legal persons can also be sanctioned by imposing a penalty for committing an administrative offense. For this reason, the law excludes the imposition of sanctions in administrative proceedings (sanction for administrative offense) and punishment for the offense committed, thus introducing the principle of nis in idem. In such a case, the criminal proceedings shall prevail. However, if there is a final decision on an administrative offense and that decision has not been annulled, the prosecution cannot be initiated and the prosecution initiated must be stopp.

Related legislatio:

Act no. 91/2016 on the criminal liability of legal entities and on amendments to certain acts