The European Commission proposes a maximum sentence of at least 5 years for crimes of embezzlement throughout the European Union, according to the proposal for a directive presented this Wednesday to classify corruption crimes and harmonize penalties on the continent, a proposal that would force Spain to return to reform the crime of embezzlement.

Brussels calls for criminal offenses relating to bribery, embezzlement, influence peddling and abuse of functions to be punished with prison terms of a maximum duration of at least 5 years, a floor for the maximum penalty for each crime that in the case of Spain It would mean hardening the two attenuated types created with the last penal reform.

Said reform, which entered into force on January 12, maintained the traditional type of embezzlement in article 432 with the same penalties (from 2 to 12 imprisonment and 6 to 20 disqualification), but specifying that there must be “a spirit of profit” when the public authority or official “appropriates or consents to a third party, with the same spirit, appropriating the public assets under his charge by reason of his duties or on the occasion thereof.”

Furthermore, he created two attenuated types of embezzlement. One for when “the authority or public official who, without the intention of appropriating it, allocates to private uses the public patrimony placed in his charge by reason of his functions or on the occasion of the same”, with penalties of 6 months to 3 years in prison and disqualification from 1 to 4 years.

And a second type for “the authority or public official who, without being included in the previous articles, gives the public property that he will administer a public application different from that to which he was destined”, sanctioned with between 1 to 4 years in prison. and 2 to 6 of disqualification.

In accordance with the proposal launched this Wednesday by Brussels, article 432 –since it has a maximum sentence of 12 years– would remain unscathed, but the two new types would not comply, as they contemplate maximums of 3 and 4 years, below that threshold. of 5 indicated by the Community Executive.

The Commission initiative aims to update and harmonize EU rules on definitions and penalties for corruption offenses in order to combat the full range of corruption offences, better prevent corruption and improve law enforcement. The proposal for a directive will now have to be negotiated by the Member States and the European Parliament.