CCR gives free rein to tax evasion up to one million euros

English Section / 20 martie

CCR gives free rein to tax evasion up to one million euros

Versiunea în limba română

The Constitutional Court of Romania practically gave the go-ahead for the crime of tax evasion up to one million euros, after rejecting, yesterday, the notification submitted by the USR and 14 unaffiliated parliamentarians (belonging to the Forţa Dreptei party led by Ludovic Orban) regarding the law that decriminalizes tax evasion under one million euros, if the damage is paid by the evader.

In the press release issued by the CCR after yesterday's meeting, it is stated: "Essentially, the Court held that the provisions of the criticized law constitute an important step in the transition that states must make from the traditionalist theories of a retributive nature of criminal law, according to which the application of custodial sentences in the case of crimes is a sine qua non condition for the restoration of the legal order, according to the modern theories specific to this branch of law, according to which, in the case of crimes aimed at making illicit gains, the main objective of the state criminal policy must aim at the discovery and confiscation of the respective assets (in a broad sense), in order to introduce them or their value in the public budget. At the same time, the Court found that the previously mentioned legal provisions are in accordance with the constitutional requirements regarding the quality of the law, equality of rights, the legislative procedure and compliance with the decisions of the Constitutional Court. The decision is final and generally binding".

Immediately after the CCR's decision, deputy Stelian Ion (USR) declared for the BURSA newspaper: "The CCR's decision is a new disappointment regarding the way the judges there handled our referral. The motivation of the decision is very strange because it talks about new, modern theories, which do not have the idea of punishment as a deterrent for potential criminals at the center, but go on the central idea of recovering the damage. In this way, an old doctrine of criminal law that spoke about the dissuasiveness of the applied criminal punishment is denied. Practically, through the decision taken, the CCR is based on the interests of those who appointed the judges there and provides an example in which criminals are advantaged. The big evasionists are protected, and the correct economic agents are put to the wall".

Asked if we are witnessing a new criminal policy in the Romanian state, taking into account the fact that the chief prosecutor of the DNA, Marius Voineag, also focuses on the recovery of damages, Stelian Ion replied: "I would like to see what the real value of damages recovered, but I think that the statements of the head of the DNA are just words and, in reality, the focus is on closing the big criminal files. Yes, it is a criminal law of the Romanian state, specifically to get the big criminals out of prison".

The normative act that amended the provisions of law no. 241/2005 for the prevention and combating of tax evasion was adopted by the Parliament in December 2023, and immediately after its adoption it was contested at the CCR by those from USR and Forţa Dreptei, who accused the fact that the legislative project was approved in two days (December 18 in the Senate and December 19 in the Chamber of Deputies), without a real debate, and that it decriminalizes tax evasion with damage below one million euros, if the damage is paid within 30 days from completion of the ANAF control. The appellants pointed out that the draft law was voted by the Senate on the very day of its submission to the Parliament by the initiators Marcel Ciolacu and Nicolae Ciucă, the two leaders of the PSD-PNL governing coalition.

The normative act also provides that, if the damage is paid before the first court term, regardless of the amount of the damage, the limits of the punishment provided by law for the committed act are reduced by half.

Practically, the future normative act (after the decision of the CCR the law will be sent for promulgation to the president Klaus Iohannis) escapes the evasionists who cause damage under one million euros if they pay the damage plus 25% during the prosecution by the prosecutors.