Italy is second only to the United States in the number of enforcement actions against corporations allegedly engaged in wrongdoing. International corporations are far from immune, as demonstrated by the prosecution of several industrial companies (e.g. Siemens, those involved in the Oil-for-Food case, a number of pharmaceutical players) and financial institutions (e.g. in the Parmalat case, or in a series of investigations on derivative trades with Italian public authorities).
All these actions are based on a piece of legislation (Legislative Decree No. 231/2001 Law 231) which in 2001 introduced without much fanfare the hitherto unknown criminal liability of legal entities for crimes committed by their managers and employees.
It has been nine years since the entry into force of Law 231. This memorandum highlights the key developments and lessons of the first nine years of this statute.