Administrative liability of legal entities

The firm has gained extensive experience in corporate liability, and assists legal entities, companies and associations being investigated or charged under Legislative Decree 231/2001. Unlawful conduct by those in a position of authority within a company or employees under their supervision and control can lead to heavy penalties, and even threaten the business itself.


Decree 231 applies extremely heavy fines and restrictive measures (prohibition on carrying on business; suspension or withdrawal of the permits, licenses or concessions that allowed the crime to be committed; prohibition on contracting with the public administration; exclusion from benefits, funding, grants or subsidies and withdrawal of those already granted and a ban on advertising goods or services).


In addition to these ‘para-criminal’ penalties, it is important to bear in mind the risk of confiscation of the profits of the crime, which under section 19 of the Decree extends to money, goods or other benefits of a value equivalent to the price or profits of the crime. Measures can apply to companies even after their transformation, merger or spin-off (sections 28-33 of Legislative Decree 231/2001), and in the event of disposal or transfer of the company.


The negative consequences for an entity are not restricted to penalties applicable after the investigation process, but include a wide range of precautionary measures applicable during the investigation itself.


The most significant is the risk of attachment as a set-off, a real measure that in practice is applied in investigations for undue receipt of payments to the detriment of the government or other public body, corruption, serious fraud for the purpose of receiving public funds, transnational crime and involvement in a criminal organisation for the purpose of committing tax fraud.