PIF Directive: increased the number of relevant offenses pursuant to Legislative Decree no. 231/2001

On July 15th, 2020, Legislative Decree no. 75/2020 was published in the Italian Official Gazette, aimed at adapting the Italian criminal law in implementing the EU Directive 2017/1371, the so-called PIF directive – protection of financial interests, on the fight against fraud affecting the Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law.

The directive of July 5th, 2017, replaces and updates the previous PIF Convention of July 26th, 1995, already implemented by Italy with Law no. 300/2000, and continues the Member States harmonization process of the criminal law aiming at completing the protection of the financial interests of the Union in relation to fraudulent conduct deemed to be most damaging at European level.

Among the main changes brought by the decree, there is a decisive expansion of the list of tax crimes for which companies’ liability can also be called upon.

Thus, the implementing Decree of the PIF directive modifies the number of tax offences covered by Legislative Decree no. 231/2001, now also including the crimes of unfaithful declaration, of omitted declaration and of undue compensation, which had been excluded from the recent reform referred to in Law no. 157/2019. In addition to these criminal cases, the crime of fraud in public supplies, fraud in agriculture and smuggling, and some criminal cases against the public administration, when damage against the EU budget results, were included.

No less relevant is the introduction, by the Decree published on July 15th, 2020, of the criminal relevance of the attempt for the crimes referred to in articles 2, 3 and 4 of Legislative Decree no. 74/2000: the new paragraph 1-bis added to art. 6 of Legislative Decree no. 74/2000, in fact, provides that the non-punishment by way of attempt, set forth in paragraph 1, does not apply in cases of fraudulent systems that have an international value – i.e. in the case of crimes committed also in part in the territory of another Member State – in order to evade VAT on condition that the total damage caused to both the interests of the Member States involved and to the EU exceeds ten million euros (value to be referred only to the tax evaded).

 

Alessandro Poli