Offences against public administration form a particularly sensitive area, especially vis-à-vis crimes committed by public officials. The numerous cases provided for by the penal code in this chapter of title II protect the smooth running and impartiality of public administration, punishing the behaviour of those public officials (and, in some cases, also of private individuals) who favour personal gain over the public interest which has been entrusted to their duties.
Although these crimes have been historically present in criminal law, they have generated great interest in recent decades because this phenomenon evolved both qualitatively and quantitatively and because of the wider public interest, especially with regard to the so-called “Tangentopoli” (Bribesgate) scandal.
Lawmakers have thus repeatedly dealt with the main offences in this area, first through law no. 86 of 26 April 1990 and then through further and more recent reforms, including law no. 190 of 6 November 2012 (i.e., “Severino law“) and law no. 69 of May 27, 2015. This area has also been affected by extending criminal protection to relations with EU institutions and with other EU member states, while also introducing new and autonomous types of offences. Recently, law no. 3 of 9 of January 2019 (i.e., “Spazzacorrotti” law, or wipe-out corruption law) has made significant changes to crimes against public administration, harshening penalties and prison sentences upon conviction. Finally, lawmakers have approved the enacting decree of the PIF Directive, which modified the regulation of some crimes against public administration in order to protect the financial interests of the European Union.
The main offences currently contemplated by the penal code, among the crimes committed by public officials (chapter I) are:
- corruption, punishing the trading of public office aimed at procuring an advantage for the public official: this offence is regulated differently depending on whether the object of the illicit agreement is an act contrary to official duties (Article 319) or the same exercise of the office to which the public official is assigned (art. 318)
- incitement to bribery, which punishes the conduct of public officials who, by abusing their capacity or power, forces someone to unduly give or promise money or other benefits (Article 317)
- embezzlement, which is aimed at punishing the misappropriation of money or movables, of which the public official has access to in his or her capacity (Article 314)
- abuse of office (Article 323) punishing public officials who intentionally procure an unfair advantage for themselves or others (or causes unfair harm to others) by violating laws or regulations, in the exercise of their duties
- misuse of public funds to the detriment of the State or other public bodies as indicated by law, consisting in misusing or misallocating grants or loans intended for the execution of activities of public interest. (Article 316 bis)
Baccaredda Boy Law Firm has gained significant experience in the field of crimes against public administration. Its team of lawyers constantly keeps abreast of any regulatory updates on the subject and on the overarching jurisprudential guidelines so as to provide its clients with the right to adequate representation against criminal risks derived from criminal policy choices that are increasingly characterized by a marked repressive and stigmatizing intent. Risks that, in addition to affecting individuals, can also affect the business endeavours of legal persons, the administrative liability of entities being contemplated for some crimes against public administration.
Since the end of the so-called Tangentopoli era (the Bribesgate scandal), Baccaredda Boy Law Firm has been offering its legal assistance in corruption trials over national and international transactions. Likewise, the Firm has been involved in cases concerning the management of multi-utility companies linked to municipalities. In the pharmaceutical sector, it has provided assistance in cases of commercial bribery.
Baccaredda Boy Law Firm offers an in-depth analysis of offences against public administration through conferences, study groups and publications. In this respect, please refer to the relevant section.