Liability of legal entities in West Asia


Continuing with the analysis of the state of international regulation on criminal liability of legal entities; in #ComplianceKeys12 we will briefly analyze the regulatory framework around this issue in different countries belonging to the West Asia region.

Thereupon, although these regions may offer interesting business opportunities for organizations that decide to venture into them, as will be seen below, different legal issues determine the need for adequate control measures.

To this effect, most of the jurisdictions analyzed (Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Arab Emirates) provide for the possibility of attributing criminal liability to legal entities within which criminal conduct has been committed in accordance with their state regulations.

In several cases, the attribution of liability in these systems is based on a system of quasi-strict liability. Thus, the criminal liability of the legal entity will depend to a large extent on the criminal liability of certain individuals within it, without requiring other complex additional elements (such as, for example, the analysis of the benefit to the entity, the lack of prevention and control measures, etc.).

Linked to the quasi-strict attribution of criminal liability to legal entities in some of the countries analyzed, there is the issue of the lack of exonerating or mitigating effect that the correct implementation of Compliance Systems by legal entities could have in those jurisdictions.

However, although there is no direct benefit linked to the adoption of Compliance Systems positivized in the legislation of the countries analyzed, it should be noted that these systems will be of great relevance in order to prevent and detect in their early stages the criminal conduct of the members of the organizations that, ultimately, could generate criminal liability for legal entities.

The following table illustrates the status of the regulations on the criminal liability of legal entities in the different West Asian countries analyzed:

Country Nature of liability Closed or open list of crimes/offenses Legal possibility of exemption due to the implementation of Compliance Systems
Israel Criminal Open list No (however, the Israeli Attorney General’s Office takes into consideration the adoption of appropriate control measures that represent a proper ethical culture in the organization may be taken into account for the purpose of mitigating the penalty to be imposed).
Kazakhstan Administrative Closed list (although, very extense) No
Lebanon Criminal Open list No
Pakistan  Criminal Open list No
Qatar Criminal Open list No
Saudi Arabia Criminal Closed list No
United Arab Emirates Criminal Closed list No (only in sector-specific legislation, such as those related to public tenders).


Compliance Department of Molins Defensa Penal.

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