Influence Peddling in the Penal Code


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He influence peddling It is one of the most persecuted corruption crimes within the Public Administration. Fraud occurs when an individual attempts to influence a public official or legal authority.

This, relying on their superiority or hierarchy to take part in a situation of fictitious or real proximity.

All of this has the sole objective of ensuring, for oneself or at the mercy of a third party, an economic benefit.

The Penal Code refers to this action in the articles 428, 429 and 430. For those involved to be sentenced, it is not necessary for the influence to obtain the desired result. That is, the official on whom pressure is exerted may consider acting in favor of the influencers.

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If the workers achieve their claims and manage to persuade the authority, it is considered as aggravating. In this sense, the sentences and fines are usually quite severe, being up to twice as strong.

Influence Peddling in the Penal Code
Influence Peddling in the Penal Code

Characteristics of the crime

Influence peddling is a crime that has three variants. Singularities occur due to the specificity of the active part. In simpler words, the particular characteristics, whether real or not, of the individual who executes or offers to execute the punishable act.

The passive part is always the same: an individual with decision-making power within public functions.

public official or authority vs authority or public official

What is condemned is the prevalence of a hierarchical structure. That is, far beyond a casual relationship of affinity or familiarity that may occur between the persuader and the persuaded.

The active individual tries to have control over the passive individual. For this, he takes advantage of his status or superior position within the Public Administration. A link that is also true, notorious and public.

Individual vs authority or public official

Private individuals can also be perpetrators in the execution of this type of crimes. In these cases, What prevails is the personal bond between influencers and influenced. In this sense, it could be due to consanguinity, friendship, companionship or in-laws.

Fortuitously, these links can also be distorted or faked by the active individual. All this, with the aim of appearing with greater power of authority.

Offering influences

This is considered the third variant in relation to the crime of influence peddling. It occurs in the case in which a public official or authority offers to pressure another official. The latter executes the action with the promise of receiving monetary compensation or some kind of gifts.

It is recorded within the same punishable act. It happens because it is an individual who offers to persuade and influence the decision of a public official or authority. In this scenario, the influencer shows off his family or friendship bond with the potentially influential individual.

Influence peddling: when only intention counts

A single intention to persuade a public official or authority is already considered a crime. However, there must be an obvious monetary interest involved.

Likewise, there are other scenarios that are not defined as a malicious action. For example, supposedly disinterested recommendations. In the latter case, without an economic benefit being wrongly proven in favor of a third party or the influencer himself.

As mentioned before, when the person with decision-making power makes the decision benefiting his persuaders, the crime is attributed an aggravating condition. Which directly represents that the sentences would be twice as long as those corresponding to cases in which there is only attempt.

The participation of a passive individual is not considered paradigmatic as a punishable act. Unless a direct monetary benefit can be demonstrated for the public official or authority in definitive charge.

Likewise, it is considered an exceptional case that the link emanated by this figure represents a crime in itself.

Penalties established for the crime of influence peddling

Public officials or authorities who play the role of persuaders or influencers are exposed to punishment. The sentences in these cases range from 6 to 24 months in prison. Also, they are awarded a fine that is defined by the judge in charge of evaluating the case. In the majority of cases, the fines are equivalent to the proportion of good received.

Likewise, they are disqualified from holding public administration positions for a period of 5 to 9 years. Same period of time in which you will not be able to exercise the right to passive vote.

A fine is imposed on any individual who commits this type of crime. This happens in the scenario where you have taken advantage of your friendship or familiarity to achieve your goal. It applies even if the link is fictitious or simulated.

Additionally, they will not be able to access contracts of any type with the Public Administration or be beneficiaries of tax incentives. On the other hand, they will not be able to benefit from the benefits of Social Security for a period of 6 to 10 years.

For those people who “offer their services” the jail time is 6 to 12 months. The above applies in the case where the person involved is an individual. If the designated person is a public official, the sentence is accompanied by a prohibition from holding positions in the Public Administration.

Additionally, you also lose the right to vote passively for one to four years.

Responsibilities of legal entities

Legal figures can also be tried and convicted for the execution of this type of crime. The first punishment to which they are exposed is a financial penalty that varies in relation to the intended monetary benefit.

In addition, other types of measures can be taken. These other determinations could be the partial suspension of the related economic activity or the dissolution of the legal personality.  

As well as, the closure of premises, offices or branches could occur.

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