Criminal Compliance in Spain

By Jordi Pallarès, GRUP VILAR RIBA

What is a Criminal Compliance Programme? – A Criminal Compliance Programme is a tailor-made plan that seeks to identify situations that generate a risk of commission of criminal offenses and to prevent the commission of such criminal offenses both by the company itself and by its individual members.

The four steps for implementing a Criminal Compliance Programme – The first step is to carry out a Due Diligence of the company from a criminal perspective to identify and evaluate the situations or areas where the risk of commission of criminal offenses is potentially higher.

The second step is to adopt measures to amend any identified organisational defaults and to establish policies governing the behaviour of the members of the company (through a highpolicy document - the Ethical Code - complemented by specific-policy documents - Protocols and Procedures).

The third step is to inform all the members of the company of those regulations and of their obligation to abide by them.

The fourth step is to appoint a criminal compliance officer with the authority and resources to ensure that the Criminal Compliance Programme is fulfilled and kept updated.

Is it compulsory to implement a Criminal Compliance Programme? – Currently no legal provision enforces its implementation. However, if a criminal offense is committed, both the company and its directors might be held liable if the Court concludes that the criminal offense could have been prevented if a Criminal Compliance Programme had been implemented.

Jordi Pallarès

Jordi Pallarès

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GRUP VILAR RIBA is a multidisciplinary firm that provides legal services, tax and accounting services, auditing services and commercial consultancy services. The firm, that this year celebrates its 30th anniversary, has over a hundred and twenty members, distributed in three offices in Spain: Barcelona, Vic and Puigcerdà.

Jordi Pallarès is a Partner of GRUP VILAR RIBA, and head of the firm’s Litigation and Criminal Law departments, as well as the Private International Law department. He has broad professional experience. He has acted as an arbitrator and is also officially qualified as a mediator and bankruptcy receiver.

Published: Winter 2017 l Photo:  Ralf Geithe -

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