Amendments to the Criminal Code mitigating and excluding criminal liability in the economic sphere are in force in Belarus since 19 July 2019
Decriminalization of economic crimes
Criminal liability is excluded for violating the procedure for opening accounts outside Belarus, fictitious entrepreneurship, antitrust violation, violating rules on transactions with precious metals and stones in the absence of significant damage, as well as for disclosure of specific information on securities in the absence of particularly large amounts of damage. At the same time, administrative liability for such acts may be applied.
Reducing applicability of confiscation
The possibility to impose punishment in the form of “common” confiscation of a convicted person’s property is abolished.
At the same time, forfeiture, meaning expropriation of crime-related property may be imposed (for example, property obtained by criminal means, instruments and instrumentalities of crime).
Forfeiture can be applied both when a person is found guilty of a crime and when relieved from criminal liability.
From now on, most articles of the Criminal Code set a fine instead of confiscation. The amount of the fine depends on the size of the basic value and the nature and level of public danger of the crime committed.
Mitigation of punishment for economic crimes
Imposing punishment in the form of imprisonment for misdemeanours and minor offences for those who commit an economic crime for the first time is now prohibited. Punishment in the form of imprisonment for these categories of crimes may be imposed only for smuggling, illegal export (in the broad sense) and legalization of funds obtained by criminal means (money laundering).
Increase in threshold of significant and particularly large amounts of damage
The sums that meet the criteria of significant and particularly large amounts of damage are increased. A significant amount of damage will be set at 1 000 basic values (approx. 11 000 EUR) (today – 250 basic values (approx. 2 800 EUR)), while a particularly large amount of damage – 2 000 basic values (approx. 22 200 EUR) (today – 1 000 basic values).
These changes are expected to improve the condition of convicted persons due to application of lesser punishments to them.
Source: National legal Internet portal of the Republic of Belarus (NLIP) 18.01.2019, 2/2609