Under Legislative Decree 231/2001, bodies can be called to account for certain offences committed in their interest or benefit by the directors, managers or employees under their management or supervision. In recent years the list of actions that can result in administrative liability has grown considerably.
In addition to bribery and corruption, the unlawful receipt of payments and fraud against the government or other public body – as well of course as corporate crime – the decree now lists various other criminal offences, including computer crime and unlawful data handling, organised crime, unlawful inducement to give or promise benefits, certain forgery offences, crimes against industry and commerce, corruption between private individuals, market abuse, manslaughter and injury caused by breach of the rules governing health and safety in the workplace, copyright violations, employment of unregistered workers and environmental crimes.
The risk of administrative liability has therefore increased for companies. However, penalties may not apply if it can be shown that the people placed in a position of power or under the management of others acted to the detriment of the company, exclusively in their own interest or that of a third party.
Specifically, a company is not liable if it proves that before the crime, it had put in place effective organisational and management models capable of preventing crimes of the type committed; the task of monitoring the implementation and compliance of models, and of updating them, had been entrusted to a body within the organisation with independent powers of action and control; the people committed the crime by fraudulently circumventing the organisational and management models and the body responsible for vigilance did not fail in its duty either in part or in full.
Organisational models have to meet various requirements: to identify activities within the context of which crimes may be committed; to include specific procedures for planning training and implementation of the organisation’s decisions with regard to the crimes to be prevented; to identify ways of managing financial resources in order to prevent the commission of crimes; to impose information requirements on the body appointed to monitor the implementation of and compliance with the models; and to introduce an appropriate disciplinary system to penalise failure to comply with the provisions of the model.
The Studio Legale Bongiorno is able to assist companies during the risk assessment stage and in creating effective organisational models.