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CJEU Case C-42/17 / Judgment

Criminal proceedings against M.A.S. and M.B.

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:
05/12/2017

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Article 325 TFEU — Judgment of 8 September 2015, Taricco and Others (C‑105/14, EU:C:2015:555) — Criminal proceedings for infringements relating to value added tax (VAT) — National legislation laying down limitation periods liable to prevent the prosecution of infringements — Activities affecting the financial interests of the EU — Obligation to disapply any provisions of national law liable to have an adverse effect on the fulfilment of the Member States’ obligations under EU law — Principle that offences and penalties must be defined by law.

Outcome of the case:

On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

Article 325(1) and (2) TFEU must be interpreted as requiring the national court, in criminal proceedings for infringements relating to value added tax, to disapply national provisions on limitation, forming part of national substantive law, which prevent the application of effective and deterrent criminal penalties in a significant number of cases of serious fraud affecting the financial interests of the European Union, or which lay down shorter limitation periods for cases of serious fraud affecting those interests than for those affecting the financial interests of the Member State concerned, unless that disapplication entails a breach of the principle that offences and penalties must be defined by law because of the lack of precision of the applicable law or because of the retroactive application of legislation imposing conditions of criminal liability stricter than those in force at the time the infringement was committed.