This content is from: Local Insights

Criminal liability of legal entities

On December 2 2009, Law 20,393 on the criminal liability of legal entities became effective. This is the first time that legal entities have been made subject to criminal liability in Chile.

Law 20,393 allows the prosecution and imposition of criminal sanctions on a legal entity in cases of asset laundering, financing of terrorism or bribery.

For a legal entity to be held criminally liable:

(i) the crime (asset laundering, financing of terrorism or bribery) must be committed by a natural person related to it as owner, controller, responsible, main officer, representative or someone who executes tasks of supervision or administration, or another person that is under the direct supervision or direction of any of the aforementioned individuals;

(ii) the benefit sought by the natural person that commits the crime must be directly and primarily to the benefit of the legal entity, and

(iii) the crime must be a consequence of the legal entity's breach of its duties of direction and supervision.

One of the Law's main innovations is the possibility of implementing a prevention model – a model of organisation, administration and supervision aimed at preventing the crimes mentioned by the Law. The Law provides that adopting and implementing this model by a legal entity will be considered as compliance with the legal entity's duties of direction and supervision. Therefore, if the prevention model is adopted and implemented, the legal entity will not be criminally liable.

Gonzalo Cordero

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