In crisis situations, when the economy and society is most vulnerable, it is fairly common for there to be an increase in certain economic crimes, as well as in enforcement actions by the police and other authorities seeking to avoid their commission.
Law No. 4/2011, of 1 June, 2011, punishes with imprisonment of up to four years and fines persons who, intentionally or through negligence, commit the following offences: (i) hoarding by a seller, (ii) hoarding by a buyer and, one of the most common criminal offences in crisis situations, (iii) price gouging.
These offences can be committed by both individuals and companies, in this latter case through actions of their members, legal representatives or individuals in a leadership positions, provided it is proven that they acted in the interest of the legal person and on its behalf. Companies can be punished with fines starting at USD 20,000.00 and/or dissolution of the company. Please note that the criminal liability of legal entities’ does not exclude the liability of individuals nor does it depend on the latter’s indictment. Finally, the criminal liability of legal entities is excluded when the individual has acted against the orders of a hierarchical superior (i.e. a person in a management or supervisory position).
For more information please contact: