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Crime of Influence Peddling in Spain: Definition, Penalties, and Distinctions

In Spain, influencing a public official or authority for personal gain constitutes the crime of influence peddling. This offense is regulated in the Penal Code, specifically between Articles 428 and 431. The article elaborates on what constitutes influence peddling, the methods through which it is committed, the penalties involved, and how it differs from bribery.

Understanding Influence Peddling

In Spain, influence peddling occurs when a public official or authority uses their position or personal relationship to influence another official or authority, aiming to obtain a resolution that could result in economic benefits, either directly or indirectly, for themselves or a third party. This crime can also be committed by private individuals who seek favorable resolutions through their personal connections with public officials.

Methods of Committing Influence Peddling

Influence peddling can take various forms, including directly influencing a public official or offering to influence one for favorable resolutions. The penalties for this crime typically involve fines, imprisonment, and special disqualifications from holding public office or exercising electoral rights.

Distinguishing Influence Peddling from Bribery

While bribery involves offering or receiving gifts or favors to act unlawfully, influence peddling revolves around influencing officials for favorable outcomes without necessarily involving illegal acts.

Criminal Liability of Legal Entities

In Spain, legal entities can also be held criminally responsible for influence peddling. They may face fines and other penalties if found guilty of engaging in this offense.

Influence peddling poses a threat to the integrity of public institutions and the principle of equality before the law. Therefore, it is essential to prevent and punish such behavior to uphold the rule of law in Spain.

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