Corporate crimes in the Penal Code


Updated on:


They are defined as crimes corporate to those acts carried out by administrators of the companies. With the purpose of attacking the company, against its partners or third parties. It refers to particular crimes against the socioeconomic order and property.

What do corporate crimes consist of?

Corporate crimes are about abuses of supremacy and betrayals incurred by those who manage companies mercantile. These types of events occur to the detriment of the company, the partners that make it up or third parties.

They are typified in the Articles 290 and 297 of the Penal Code. Specifically within Chapter XIII (Of corporate crimes) of Title XIII (Crimes against property and against the socioeconomic order).

They are special and intentional crimes, since They can only be carried out by the legal or de facto administrators of a company. Corporate crimes have in common the protected judicial good (the proper management of companies) and the active individual.

Are you looking for a lawyer specialized in Criminal Law?

we help you find a criminal lawyer.
We have a wide network of collaborating lawyers in all Spain.

Corporate crimes in the Penal Code
Corporate crimes in the Penal Code

However, they group different behaviors that are mentioned in the following section.

Crime of documentary falsification corporate

The crime of corporate documentary falsification condemns the adulteration of the annual accounts. As well as, the other documentation that must show the economic or legal situation of a company in formation or already constituted.

Counterfeiting can be about alteration, manipulation, simulation and any other similar action.

Article 290 of the Penal Code registers:

The administrators by law or, in fact, of a company that adulterate the annual balance sheets of the company will be punished. This refers to any documentation that is intended to show the real state, whether financial or legal, of the company.

Anyone who carries out this type of act detrimental to society is sentenced to a prison sentence of one to three years.

In the event that financial damage is caused, the penalties will be established in the upper half.

Crime of imposition of abusive agreements

The crime of imposing abusive agreements punishes those who prevail from their majority position in society to define improper agreements. It is essential that there is the intention of profit for himself or for a third party to the detriment of the other partners.

Article 291 states:

The article refers to those who take advantage of their portion of majority shares in the company to impose abusive agreements. This type of act is carried out with the sole purpose of profiting in one's own favor or to benefit a third person.

Any individual who commits this crime is duly punished. The custodial sentence corresponds to six months to three years or a fine equivalent to three times the benefit received.

Crime of imposition of harmful agreements

This offense penalizes administrators who impose or take advantage of a harmful agreement assumed by a fictitious majority. The purpose is to obtain a benefit for himself against the company or any of the partners that are part of it.

Article 292 defines that:

The same sentence of the previous article will be awarded to those who impose a harmful agreement assumed by a non-existent majority. This may be possible by making use of blank signatures.

 Also, it applies in scenarios of inappropriate attribution of the right to vote to those who are not legally empowered to do so.

Crime of denial of rights to partners

This offense refers to those administrators that prevent one of the partners the opportunity to access the information without a legal reason. That is to say, that without legal reason, a partner denies another the opportunity to know the legal and financial status of the company. In this specific case, the author acts with fraud.

Article 293 typifies the following:

This article stipulates fine sanctions for a period of six months up to twelve months. Applies in cases where administrators, without a legal reason, deny a partner the enjoyment of their right to know the information. In addition, they avoid participation in processes of management or control of social action.

Crime of obstruction of supervisory or inspection actions

The crime of obstruction of supervisory or inspection actions penalizes legal or de facto administrators who prevent the intervention of legal bodies. This refers to supervisory and inspecting persons or entities. In this case, the intention to prevent the Public Administration from carrying out its inspection work is penalized.

Article 294 establishes the following:

Refers to all those individuals who, in their position as administrators of a company, prevent the intervention of supervisory and inspection bodies or entities. Thus, they will be duly punished with imprisonment for periods from six months to three years.

A fine could also be imposed for a period of twelve months up to twenty-four months.

Special characteristics of corporate crimes

In the 2015 amendment to the Penal Code, article 295 was eliminated and replaced by the new article 252. The latter is in charge of regulating the simple type of unfair administration. The purpose is to be able to distinguish both crimes and to be able to apply it outside the context of societies.

Additionally, as established, in order to condemn a corporate crime, it is essential that the complaint be formalized by the affected person or their legal representative.

However, if the crime violates the common interest or a group of people, it will not be mandatory to file a complaint. Being the latter, the circumstances the crime must be prosecuted.

Protected legal asset

It is important to take into consideration that the legal assets protected from this type of corporate crime respond to interests of various kinds:

·         The patrimonial interest: this is linked to the exercise of mercantile companies.

·         general interest: if the damage caused affects a whole plurality. It is for this reason that this type of crime is placed in the title that alludes to the punishable modes of a socioeconomic order.

Can the Treasury be defined as a passive subject?

In practice, the Treasury could be an active subject. That is, the party that is defined as a victim in the consummation of a crime. 

Throughout history, not only in Spanish territory, there are many people who have tried to commit fraudulent acts against public coffers. This, in order to appropriate the amount the State collects through taxes.

Nevertheless, in the Criminal Code, these acts are not registered as crimes. Which means that it is assumed that the Treasury can never be affected by a punishable action that is part of this classification.

This is because, in article 310 of the judicial regulations, this series of events is categorized in a particular way, within a single section and exposing their corresponding sanctions. 

Leave a comment