With the changes introduced to the Penal Code in 2010 in Organic Law 10/1995, under the Spanish legal system it is now possible for legal entities to be held criminally liable. The law, which was initially passed in 2010, is constantly being revised and updated. From now on it will become more common to see cases in which legal entities may be charged with crimes for presumed criminal acts committed by individuals associated with them who participate in illegal conduct in the name of and/or for the benefit of these companies.
That is why it is so important to establish prevention, control and regulatory compliance programmes, consisting of a series of tangible measures implemented by companies to prevent criminal behaviour from happening at all or at least enabling them to prove, in the event that such illegal conduct were to happen, that the company had done everything it its power to prevent it. This would exonerate the company from criminal liability.
Corporate Compliance programmes therefore act as a preventive measure on the one hand and as a means of exonerating the company from criminal liability on the other, while at the same time helping businesses to improve their management and internal control processes.