On Tuesday, July 6, the Saeima in the 3rd reading supported the amendments to the Criminal Law developed by the Ministry of Justice to implement the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 and increase the criminal liability for criminal offenses related to non-cash payment fraud and counterfeiting in order to protect the society against this type of crime.
The amendments improve the regulation of the Criminal Law by defining illegal activities with non-cash means of payment, as well as the qualifying feature of an organized group is now included in certain criminal offenses, in order to impose a custodial sentence of up to five years.
The aim of the Directive is to ensure a uniform approach to the fight against fraud with non-cash means of payment in all EU Member States by providing a comprehensive legal framework for all illegal transactions with non-cash means of payment.
The requirements of the Directive define criminal offenses and sanctions in the fight against fraud, counterfeiting and other illegal activities affecting the non-cash flow in the European Union.
Similarly, in amendments to the Criminal Law social hatred has been established as aggravating circumstance. Such an aggravating circumstance will make it possible to impose harsher penalties in cases where any of the criminal offenses provided for in the Criminal Law are committed not only with racist, national, ethnic or religious motives, but also due to social hatred.
In addition, the amendments to the Criminal Law add a new Article 218.1 “Presentation of a transaction that has not actually taken place in the value added tax return” in order to strengthen the determination of criminal liability for value added tax fraud.