The Client Letter has repeatedly reported on the differences between German and Italian law on corporate criminal liability. In Germany, this is a recurring theme that results in legislative initiatives that are not pursued further. In Italy, the criminal liability of the company under Decree 231/2001 has been the law for over 20 years.
In this context, the Court of Cassation has ruled (6.09.2021,32899/21) that even the foreign company that does not have a permanent establishment in Italy can be prosecuted in Italy. The decision was issued on the railway accident in Viareggio (strage di viareggio) in 2009, in which 32 people died. The investigations into how the accident happened also included German suppliers and service providers. There was no conviction of a German party; however, the finding that jurisdiction would have existed even without a branch or permanent establishment in Italy is of considerable importance for practice.