The confiscation of assets in Spain is possible when one of the following crimes has been committed:
1. Money laundering
Criminals who utilize complex bank transfers and business transactions to conceal where money – which was earned illegally – has originated from are at risk of having their assets seized.
2. Computer-related crimes
When computer systems or digital devices are used to commit crimes, asset confiscation is common. Cyber-based crime examples include:
- Personal data theft (or identity theft)
- Solicitation of a minor
- Copyright infringement
- Acts causing personal harm
3. Handling of stolen goods
Asset confiscation often happens in cases when a person knowingly handles goods that are believed to be stolen.
This can include the storage, removal, and/or disposal of the respective goods.
4. Offences related to fraudulent insolvencies
Otherwise known as fraudulent trading – this form of deception is a criminal offence.
When conducting business with the intent to defraud creditors, penalties can be severe and offenders can expect to have their assets confiscated.
5. Crimes against intellectual or industrial property
Intellectual and industrial property, such as copyrights, trademarks, and patents, are all protected by law, and crimes committed with the intention of breaching these protections can lead to asset seizure against the wrongdoer.
6. Corruption among private parties
Corruption in the private sector typically means the abuse of power, which can often result in some form of benefit for the perpetrator – for example, financial.
This kind of crime is likely to lead to asset confiscation for the persons involved.
7. Criminal fraud and crimes against the socioeconomic order
In the case of criminal fraud, asset confiscation typically happens during the asset recovery phase.
Offenders who continue to commit crimes against the socioeconomic order, such as misappropriation of public funds, and misuse of power, can also have their assets confiscated.
8. Offenses committed within a criminal organization
Criminal organizations include, for example, terrorist groups and organized crime gangs.
Individuals who are found to have carried out criminal activities within these types of groups will be subject to asset confiscation.
9. Tax and Social Security offences
The deliberate misrepresentation by a person or company of economic information – such as income and expenditure – to the Spanish Tax Authority, in an attempt to evade taxes, is illegal and may result in assets being confiscated.
The same applies to any person attempting to pay less social security than they legally owe, or who is claiming benefits from social security that they are not entitled to.
10. Corruption of public officials
Anyone involved in bribing a person in public office or who is, for example, performing a legal duty, will be committing a crime and faces asset freezing and confiscation as a consequence.
The same also applies to the person who is receiving the bribe.
11. Embezzlement crimes
The misappropriation of funds by a public official or authority is a form of financial fraud that often results in the wrongdoer’s assets being confiscated, should they be found to be responsible.
Something to Remember
The courts in Spain will always need to determine that, when it comes to confiscating assets, the assets in question are a result of criminal activity.
If you need further assistance on this topic, contact the team at Lawants to schedule a consultation with one of our specialist litigators.
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