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CJEU Case C-105/14 / Judgment

Criminal proceedings against Ivo Taricco and Others

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Court (Grand Chamber)
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
08/09/2015

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Criminal proceedings concerning offences in relation to value added tax (VAT) — Article 325 TFEU — National legislation laying down absolute limitation periods which may give rise to impunity in respect of offences — Potential prejudice to the financial interest of the European Union — Obligation, for the national court, to disapply any provision of national law liable to affect fulfilment of the Member States’ obligations under EU law.

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

...the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

  1. A national rule in relation to limitation periods for criminal offences such as that laid down by the last subparagraph of Article 160 of the Penal Code, as amended by Law No 251 of 5 December 2005, read in conjunction with Article 161 of that Code — which provided, at the material time in the main proceedings, that the interruption of criminal proceedings concerning serious fraud in relation to value added tax had the effect of extending the limitation period by only a quarter of its initial duration — is liable to have an adverse effect on fulfilment of the Member States’ obligations under Article 325(1) and (2) TFEU if that national rule prevents the imposition of effective and dissuasive penalties in a significant number of cases of serious fraud affecting the financial interests of the European Union, or provides for longer limitation periods in respect of cases of fraud affecting the financial interests of the Member State concerned than in respect of those affecting the financial interests of the European Union, which it is for the national court to verify. The national court must give full effect to Article 325(1) and (2) TFEU, if need be by disapplying the provisions of national law the effect of which would be to prevent the Member State concerned from fulfilling its obligations under Article 325(1) and (2) TFEU.
  2. A limitation system applicable to criminal offences in relation to value added tax such as that established by the last subparagraph of Article 160 of the Penal Code, as amended by Law No 251 of 5 December 2005, read in conjunction with Article 161 of that Code, cannot be assessed in the light of Articles 101 TFEU, 107 TFEU and 119 TFEU.