The 2010 reform of the criminal code introduced, for the first time in Spain, a system of criminal liability of legal persons, in other words, the possibility of companies, foundations, cooperatives, and associations being convicted for crimes committed within them. These institutions, irrespective of their size, have since been required to conduct internal monitoring or to devise a regulatory compliance plan, which prevents the commission of crimes by employees or related entities. The repercussions may otherwise be very serious, with sanctions ranging from significant financial penalties, to company closure.
Nevertheless, there are a great number of legal entities that have not yet implemented a crime prevention and detection program in their organization, nor do they have an independent compliance entity or individual, a so-called compliance officer, responsible for its management. This is surprising considering the fact that compliance is here to stay. The trickle of convictions for tax violations, lack of transparency in accounting, discriminatory staff recruitment, and non-sustainable practices, have only just begun. The list of possible offenses is long, complex, and sometimes unclear.
That is why it is especially important to surround yourself with the right professionals, specialists in regulatory compliance with experience in implementing prevention plans in business organizations.
Successive legislative reforms, such as the most recent amendment to the Criminal Code, which entered into force on 1 July 2015, elaborate on positioning compliance programs as cornerstones of companies in terms of assigning responsibilities and combating crimes committed within a company.