Following an introduction by José María Campos, who presented the event and the speakers, Antonio Camacho, Counsel of the White Collar Crime and Internal Investigations practice at Pérez-Llorca, took the floor. He discussed the main units of the State security forces and bodies and the Tax Agency authorities that are dedicated to the investigation of economic crime. Camacho went over the criteria used to attribute jurisdiction to hear this type of criminal investigation to the regional courts of preliminary investigations and the Central Courts of Preliminary Investigations of the National High Court.
He then analysed the main problems for companies that arise as a result of the requirements and other action taken by authorities, with special emphasis on entry and searches and the way in which companies should react to manage this type of situation in the most appropriate and efficient way possible. Camacho reminded attendees that a company’s response to those actions can have a big influence on its position in any criminal proceedings that are instituted. Lastly, he addressed the purpose and main difficulties of the internal investigations companies can conduct if they discover irregularities within the company.
Oriol Armengol, Partner of the Competition practice at Pérez-Llorca, explained the search procedure followed by competition authorities including the European Commission, the Spanish National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC) and regional authorities. Armengol noted that these authorities have very broad inspection powers that allow them to access a large number of documents and files, as well as all kinds of technical and media resources, including WhatsApp groups.
However, Armengol warned that although these powers are very broad, they are not unlimited. Expert advice received during the inspections can ensure that these limits are not exceeded and can also help to get an inspection cancelled if the inspectors are exceeding their authority. Armengol explained the advantages of having a protocol of action, with practical instructions, so that employees know how to react and behave throughout an inspection.
Pérez-Llorca Labour law Partners Luis Enrique Fernández Pallarés and Fernando Ruiz closed the event with a presentation on the channels for investigating an employee that a company knows or suspects has committed a criminal offence. After explaining the different ways to conduct such an investigation, the partners pointed out the way to proceed in order to be able to use the information gathered during the investigation to impose a possible penalty on the offending employee.