Delta Stroy 2003
On 10 November 2022, the Fourth Chamber of the Court delivered a preliminary ruling in the context of proceedings brought against Delta Stroy 2003 EOOD (‘Delta Stroy’) for the purpose of imposing a financial penalty on that company for a criminal offence relating to value added tax (VAT) alleged against its manager and representative under Framework Decision 2005/212/JHA. ZK is the manager and representstory of Delta Stroy, established in Burgas (Bulgaria). In that capacity, on 5 August 2019, ZK was charged, in circumstances amounting to a continuous offence, for having evaded payment of tax debts in the total amount of BGN 11 388.98 (approximately EUR 5 800). The prosecutor of Burgas in Bulgaria proposed to the Regional Court of Burgas, in separate proceedings, that a financial penalty storyposed on Delta Stroy, on the ground that that company had obtained a pecuniary advantage from ZK’s offence. The referring court thus asks whether Articles 4 and 5 of Framework Decision 2005/212/JHA and Article 49 of the Charter to be interpreted as permitting legislation of a Member State under which, in proceedings such as those in the main proceedings, the national court may impose a penalty on a legal person for a specific criminal offence the commission of which has not yet been established because it is the subject of parallel criminal proceedings which have not yet been definitively concluded, and whether the national court may impose a penalty on a legal person by fixing the amount of that penalty at the amount of the proceeds which would have been obtained from a specific criminal offence the commission of which has not yet been established because it is the subject of parallel criminal proceedings which have not yet been definitively concluded. The Court held that Article 48 of the Charter must be interpreted as precluding national legislation under which a national court may impose on a legal person a criminal penalty for an offence for which a natural person who has the power to bind or represent that legal person is allegedly liable, where that legal person has not been put in a position to dispute the reality of that offence.
Case Number C-203/21
Name of the parties Delta Stroy 2003
Date of the judgement 2022-11-10
Court Court of Justice of the European Union (Fourth Chamber)