Corporate Criminal Liability and Compliance Management Systems

A Case Study of Spain

In: Brill Research Perspectives in Transnational Crime
Santiago Wortman Jofre Ph.D. Candidate, Queen Mary University of London

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The present work analyses the case of Spain in relation to Compliance Management Systems and Corporate Criminal Liability. It studies the way criminal justice understands and uses Compliance Management Systems to target corporate criminality. Moreover, it aims to deconstruct the way Compliance Management Systems are implemented in different corporations. To that end, I conducted a series of semi-structured interviews with Compliance Officers and performed content analysis on judicial documents. While not being able to generalise or give definite conclusions, the results showed a misconnection between the aim of criminal law provisions and the profit-driven objectives of corporations. Furthermore, results unveiled the powerful motivation of requirements. Companies sought to implement Compliance Management Systems to access new markets, better supplies and insurance fee discounts. Rather than the threat of punishment the analysis indicated a stronger effect through the positive stimuli of requiring a Compliance Management System for a benefit. The study also showed a fear for the reputational consequences of being subjected to a criminal procedure, thus indicating a better predisposition to solve offences through alternative conflict resolution methods. The lack of a clear message from the criminal justice reduced the deterrent effect of punishment. This lack of clear standards may have fostered social disorganisation within the environment of corporations, thus constituting fertile ground for corporate crimes.

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