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Italy: New Legislation Against Public Corruption and Organized Crime

(June 25, 2015) On June 14, 2015, new legislation fighting criminal conduct against the state, organized crime activities, and false accounting reporting entered into effect in Italy. (Law No. 69 of May 6, 2015, Provisions on Crimes Against the Public Administration, Mafia-Type Associations and False Accounting, GAZETTA UFFICIALE No. 124 (May 30, 2015), NORMATTIVA (in Italian).)

Law No. 69 amends the Criminal Code, increasing the prison terms upon conviction for crimes against public administration. (Id. art. 1(1).) Bans on the ability to conclude contracts with the government and suspensions from the exercise of a profession, commercial business, or industry can now be extended (id. art. 1(1)(b)), and the standards for termination of private or public employment due to crimes against publish administration have been toughened (id. art. 1(1)(c)).

Crimes affecting public administration now subject to increased penalties include: embezzlement (id. art. 1(1)(d)), corruption in the exercise of a public function (id. art. 1(1)(e)), corruption constituting an act contrary to official duty (id. art. 1(1)(f)), corruption associated with judicial acts (id. art. 1(1)(g)), and undue inducement to give or promise a profit (id. art. 1(1)(h)).

For certain crimes against the public administration, Law No. 69 amends the Criminal Code provisions on the requirements forĀ grantingĀ a conditional suspension of a penalty (parole). (Id. art. 2(1).) In particular, the law now requires that, in order to qualify for parole, criminal defendants deposit with the court an amount equivalent to the profit generated by the crime or the amount unduly received by the public official charged with the crime, without prejudice to the payment of further compensation for damages caused to the public administration. (Id. art. 2(1).)

The Criminal Code provision punishing the crime of bribery has also been amended, to punish a public official who abuses his or her capacity or power to compel another person to improperly give a payment or other reward, either to the official or to a third party. (Id. art. 3(1).)

For some offenses, Law No. 69 introduces a new provision into the Criminal Code (new art. 322-ter) forcing the imposition of a monetary fine against defendants equivalent to the amounts improperly obtained, to the benefit of the aggrieved public entity. (Id. art. 4(1).)

Law No. 69 also amends the Civil Code to punish corporate officers and other officers associated with the liquidation of a company who, in order to obtain an undue benefit, intentionally reveal false material facts about a company or fail to disclose material facts as mandated by the law, causing others to incur errors. (Id. art. 9(1).) Other penalties imposed apply to cases in which the dissemination of false corporate information affects companies listed on stock exchanges located in Italy or in other European Union countries. (Id. art. 11(1).)

Finally, prison sentences are also increased for organized crime (mafia) activities carried out by three or more persons when, among other situations, force or intimidation or weapons or explosive materials are used. (Id. art. 5.)