Sorainen Corporate Crime Investigation and Compliance Practice attorneys and lawyers continue to follow criminal law-related activities in Latvia and abroad.

September’s highlights touched on issues such as legal liability in the area of national security, the burden of proof in cases of confiscating criminally acquired property, activities of the European Public Prosecutors` Office (EPPO), etc.

However, from the overall set of updates, news of criminal cases for sanctions violations attracted our attention. Namely, since criminal cases of sanctions violations, in parallel to criminal cases of money laundering and tax fraud, are one of the central topics of Sorainen’s criminal law lawyers’ practice, we approach the news in them with particular interest.

It should be noted that such matters acquired the status of “special priority” soon after the start of the war in Ukraine. Despite the existence of this priority status, investigations into them are equally time-consuming, with the result that their referral for prosecution is still to be expected. However, as can be inferred from the news, more and more in criminal cases of this kind, the amount of evidence has apparently been gathered to the level where there are grounds for taking them forward to the prosecutor’s office for prosecution.

Moreover, it can be read from the news that in cases of this kind, decisions are taken on the initiation of proceedings not only against natural persons but also on the application of coercive measures to legal persons (corporate liability).

It should be recalled that proceedings for the application of coercive measures to legal persons may be initiated for the performance of any criminal offence provided for in the Criminal Law. It has a legal basis if the criminal offence (including money laundering, violation of sanctions, fraud, corruption, etc.) has been committed by a natural person because the company did not have sufficient monitoring or control mechanisms, or if the crime was committed in the interests of the company.