Government investigations—Italy—Q&A guide

The following Public Law practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Government investigations—Italy—Q&A guide
  • 1. What government agencies are principally responsible for the enforcement of civil and criminal laws and regulations applicable to businesses?
  • 2. What is the scope of each agency’s enforcement authority? Can the agencies pursue actions against corporate employees as well as the company itself? Do they typically do this?
  • 3. Can multiple government entities simultaneously investigate the same target business? Must they coordinate their investigations? May they share information obtained from the target and on what terms?
  • 4. In what fora can civil charges be brought? In what fora can criminal charges be brought?
  • 5. Is there a legal concept of corporate criminal liability? How does the government prove that a corporation is criminally liable for the acts of its officers, directors or employees?
  • 6. Must the government evaluate any particular factors in deciding whether to bring criminal charges against a corporation?
  • 7. What requirements must be met before a government entity can commence a civil or criminal investigation?
  • 8. What events commonly trigger a government investigation? Do different enforcement entities have different triggering events?
  • 9. What protections are whistle-blowers entitled to?
  • More...

Government investigations—Italy—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to government investigations in Italy published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: June 2020).

Authors: Studio Legale Pisano—Roberto Pisano

1. What government agencies are principally responsible for the enforcement of civil and criminal laws and regulations applicable to businesses?

Criminal enforcement

Public prosecutors are responsible for the investigation and prosecution of all criminal offences, including business crime, either of individuals or of corporations. Public prosecutors are assisted by the police forces (which include the state police, the carabinieri and the financial police).

Public prosecutors are not part of the government, but are professional magistrates, and their duty to bring criminal prosecutions is compulsory and not discretionary. 

 

Civil and administrative enforcement

Unlawful conduct amounting to business crime can also be subject to administrative enforcement. In principle, this administrative enforcement runs parallel (and in addition) to criminal enforcement, in a system where specific ‘regulators’ have the power to assess the relevant violations and to apply the related administrative sanctions. The main regulators are the following.

National Commission for Companies and the Stock Exchange

The task of the National Commission for Companies and the Stock Exchange (Consob) is to ensure the transparency and correct functioning of the financial markets. Consob is provided with extensive powers of investigation (eg, to compel company officers to attend an interview and

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