SPANISH SUPREME COURT ISSUES A RULING ON CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY

On 2 September 2015, the Criminal Section of the Spanish Supreme Court issued its first judgment – albeit without going into great detail – on corporate criminal liability in a case of criminal fraud committed by its sole director.

The entity's sole director purported to be the owner of a property and advertised the property's lease on a real estate website; however, he had in fact been evicted from the property for non-payment.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court argued that it was unable to rule on the criminal liability of the corporate entity because the sole director had appealed against the lower court's decision as an individual and not on the corporate entity's behalf. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court pointed out that "any conviction against corporate entities must be based on the inalienable principles that shape criminal law." The Supreme Court has therefore made it clear that the principles of criminal law apply to both individuals and corporate entities.