The New Spanish Criminal Code clamps down on corruption

The reforms of the Spanish Criminal Code are close to being approved and will contain a number of new provisions aimed at clamping down on corruption. Although the illegal financing of political parties is not classified as a crime in the reforms, a number of other criminal offences are included: corruption, misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement and fraudulent insolvency.

The reforms are also due to include a new section on "evading enforcement": i.e. in the context of court proceedings, concealing goods or assets with the aim of evading the enforcement of a judgment or injunctive relief, failing to satisfy the rights of creditors and attempting to avoid the payment of civil liabilities in the context of a criminal offence. Offenders face imprisonment of between one and four years.

The new Criminal Code will also punish the lack of diligence on the part of officers and directors who jeopardise the interests of creditors by entering into non-permitted risk. In this regard, unjustified indebtedness or transfers of cash are punishable if those transactions are not proportionate with the debtor's current financial position or revenues.

Finally, the reforms of the Criminal Code (i) define misappropriation of public funds as including the disloyal management of public funds in such a way as to damage public wealth; and (ii) punish those who breach their duty of loyalty by acting wrongfully and in a manner that is unauthorised – i.e. disloyal management.