What are the accessory consequences of Article 129 of the Criminal Code? 


In parallel to the penalties that can be imposed on legal entities (ComplianceKeys#5), Article 129 of the Spanish Criminal Code regulates a series of punitive consequences that can be applied to entities without legal personality in the event that an offence is committed in the course of their activities.

As has been introduced, the addressees of these consequences, called accessory consequences to the penalty, are in principle only entities without legal personality (such as, for example, irregular commercial companies, commercial establishments, groups of people who are not constituted in any kind of association, pharmaceutical offices, communities of owners, etc.). 

However, exceptions have been noted in recent case law. Thus, there are rulings in which accessory consequences to the penalty of Article 129 of the Spanish Criminal Code are imposed on entities with a legal personality (i.e., among others, Spanish Supreme Court Ruling No. 162/2019 of 26 March).

On the other hand, in the same way as in the area of criminal liability of legal entities (ComplianceKeys#3), not every offence can give rise to the imposition of consequences ancillary to the sentence

Specifically, the list of offences that can give rise to the application of accessory consequences is made up of: (i) offences that can give rise to criminal liability for legal entities in accordance with Article 31 bis of the Spanish Criminal Code; and (ii) the following specific offences

  • Genetic manipulation offences (arts. 159 to 161 SCC).
  • Offence of altering prices in public tenders and auctions (art. 262 SCC).
  • Offence of refusal to carry out inspections (art. 294 SCC).
  • Offences against workers’ rights (arts. 311 to 317 SCC).
  • Offence of counterfeiting currency (art. 386 SCC).
  • Offence of unlawful association (art. 515 SCC).
  • Offences relating to criminal organisations and groups (arts. 570 bis and ter SCC).
  • Offences relating to terrorist and terrorist organisations and groups (arts. 571 to 579 SCC).

Of the above offences, offences against workers’ rights stand out, as well as offences of altering prices in public tenders and auctions, insofar as they are risks that can affect numerous entities.

With regard to the specific accessory consequences which, in accordance with Articles 129 and 33.7 (letters c) to g)) of the Spanish Criminal Code, could be imposed on unincorporated entities, these are as follows: 

  • Suspension of activities for up to five (5) years.
  • Closure of premises and establishments for up to five (5) years.
  • Prohibition to carry out certain activities in the future on a definitive basis or for up to fifteen (15) years.
  • Disqualification from obtaining public subsidies and aid, from contracting with the public sector and from enjoying tax or Social Security benefits and incentives for up to fifteen (15) years.
  • Judicial intervention for up to five (5) years.
  • Definitive prohibition to carry out any activity, even if lawful.

As a small reflection, it can be observed that, although the accessory consequences of Article 129 of the Spanish Criminal Code are not strictly speaking penalties, they coincide almost in their entirety with the penalties imposed on legal entities, and can also cause considerable damage to the entities on which they are imposed.

Compliance Department of Molins Defensa Penal. 


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