ACADEMIC MADE PRECISIONS CONCERNING ECONOMIC CRIMES
PROFESSOR CARNEVALI EXPLAINED THAT ONE OF THE REASONS FOR LOW PENALTIES APPLICATION IS THE IRREPROACHABLE PREVIOUS BEHAVIOR OF THOSE WHO ENGAGE IN SUCH ACTS.
July 15, 2016
Academic Raúl Carnevali, Director of the Penal Law Studies Center (Cedep), under the Department of Legal and Social Sciences, noticed the effectiveness of prosecution as a deterrent against economic crimes, while analyzing different aspects concerning the occurrence of this type of illegal acts and the sanctions often given to the people responsible.
Professor Carnevali, Director the Regular Fondecyt project about "Corruption and Business Activity. Conceptual Analysis for a New Systematization”, stated that in the Criminal Code it does not exist the crime of corruption, but rather various behaviors by employees who miss their very duties and corrode the trust placed in them by the citizens, for the management of the public funds. "In this context, there are several crimes which could belong to the sphere of corruption, such as bribery, fraud to the State and incompatible negotiations, but our Criminal Code alludes only to the Public Sector, unlike the European Codes", he said.
"But concerning the civil service, while our criminal code is old, we could say that it has adapted to the new regulations, to the international agreements, so that there are offences dealing with the phenomena of corruption in the public sphere," he added.
Another thing is, in his view, the criminal treatment for this type of illegal acts, in terms of considering whether the penalties applied are high or low. In this regard, he explained that many times cases of bribery or fraud to the State, for example, are not punished with prison. He added that another aspect to consider is that those who get involved in these situations are people who possess previous irreproachable conduct, in the sense of not having committed crimes previously, so they receive lower penalties.
When comparing with the traditional crimes written in the Criminal Code, affecting directly the people, he said that those of economic nature are perceived as more distant and, therefore, their social connotation is low. "The impression is that they should not worry us that much, but the idea is that these acts be indeed included in the criminal law, which fair penalties but eventually having also custodial sentences," said Raúl Carnevali.
However, he also noted that in criminal matters, either economic or traditional crimes, more than the penalty itself, a deterrent factor is rather the effectiveness of the prosecution, which implies having efficient and effective institutions to perform that work. In this context, and concerning the economic crimes investigated today, he said that it was required a criminal treatment, and efficient institutions, both from the prosecutors and from the police sectors. "Economic offenders, in addition, are always thinking about the cost-benefit balance, and if in the high costs side they consider the development of an effective prosecution, they would think twice before committing the crime", he said, adding that this principle had already been approached by some authors in the 18th century.
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