The offense of money laundering has gained significant importance in the fight against economic and financial crime. At A&O Abogados, your criminal law firm in Marbella, we can explain it to you.
This offense is defined in Article 301 of the Penal Code (https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-1995-25444). The crime of money laundering aims to pursue activities that seek to give a appearance of legality to funds obtained illicitly. In this legal blog, we will examine in detail Article 301 of the Penal Code to better understand the characteristics and consequences of this offense.
The crime of money laundering is defined as the process by which profits obtained from criminal activities are introduced into the legal financial system to hide their illicit origin.
It involves a series of complex actions that involve the conversion, transfer, concealment, or disguise of assets or goods derived from illegal activities.
Article 301 of the Penal Code in Spain establishes that “the person who acquires, possesses, uses, converts, or transfers assets, knowing that they have their origin in a criminal activity, committed by himself or by any third party, or performs any other act to hide or disguise their illicit origin, or to help the person who has participated in the offense or offenses to evade the legal consequences of their actions, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of six months to six years and a fine of up to three times the value of the goods subject to the offense.”
The crime of money laundering comprises the following elements:
- Proceeds from criminal activity: The assets or goods involved in the crime must have an illicit origin, meaning they come from a previous criminal activity such as drug trafficking, corruption, or financial fraud.
2. Knowledge of the illicit origin: The perpetrator of the crime must be aware that the assets have an illicit origin. This implies that the accused must have knowledge or well-founded suspicions about the illegal source of the assets.
3. Money laundering actions: The crime can manifest through various actions, such as the acquisition, possession, use, conversion, or transfer of proceeds from criminal activity. It also includes behaviors aimed at concealing or disguising the illicit origin of the assets or assisting third parties in evading the legal consequences of their actions.
Money laundering is a criminal activity that seeks to give a semblance of legality to funds obtained illicitly.
At A&O Lawyers, your criminal law firm on the Costa del Sol, we explain its consequences. The provisions that encompass it aim to sanction the responsible parties in a fair and proportional manner, taking into account the gravity of their actions and the particular circumstances of the case.
The Penal Code establishes the penalties for the crime of money laundering in Article 301. The main penalty is deprivation of liberty, with a duration ranging from six months to six years. The determination of the specific sentence depends on various factors, such as the severity of the crime, the amount of laundered assets, and the particular circumstances of the case.
In addition to imprisonment, Article 301 contemplates a fine that can reach up to three times the value of the assets involved in the crime. This fine serves both to economically sanction the accused and to ensure the confiscation of assets obtained illicitly.
Likewise, aggravating or mitigating circumstances can arise in the crime of money laundering.
There are aggravating circumstances that can increase the severity of the crime of money laundering and, consequently, the imposed penalty on the accused.
Some of the most common aggravating factors are as follows:
1. Participation in a criminal organization: If the accused is part of a criminal organization involved in money laundering, it will be considered an aggravating circumstance. This participation implies a higher level of planning and coordination of the crime.
2. Use of financial institutions: If the accused uses financial institutions such as banks or exchange houses to carry out money laundering operations, it is considered an aggravating factor. This reflects a greater sophistication in the commission of the crime.
3. High value of the laundered assets: When the amount of assets subject to money laundering is significantly high, it is considered an aggravating circumstance. The higher the value of the assets, the greater the imposed penalty.
On the other hand, there are mitigating circumstances that can reduce the penalty for the crime of money laundering.
Some of the most common mitigating factors are as follows:
1. Collaboration with justice: If the accused actively and effectively cooperates with the authorities in the investigation of the crime, providing relevant information and contributing to the identification and capture of other perpetrators, it is considered a mitigating circumstance.
2. Restitution of damages: If the accused takes actions to repair the harm caused by the crime, such as returning the laundered assets or financially compensating the victims, it may be considered a mitigating circumstance.
3. Confesión: Si el acusado reconoce su participación en el delito de blanqueo de capitales de manera voluntaria y sincera, sin necesidad de ser descubierto por las autoridades, se considera una circunstancia atenuante.
Money laundering is a criminal phenomenon that has serious consequences for both the economy and society as a whole. Our specialized criminal law attorneys at A&O Abogados, your law firm in Marbella, will assist you.
We will guide you throughout the process to ensure the imposition of appropriate penalties, taking into account the relevant aggravating and mitigating factors, which is essential to ensure the effectiveness of the criminal justice system and deter the commission of this crime. Call us now.
In the meantime, feel free to read our blog post on fines in Spanish law. You can find it here: