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Repeal of foreign exchange offenses to encourage investments in foreign currencies

In 2003, the Law Against Foreign Exchange Illicit Activities was enacted with the intention of regulating through state mechanisms the sale and purchase of foreign currency. This action was aimed at eliminating the alternative market of foreign currencies and determined specific sanctions for individuals or legal entities that bought or sold dollars without the mediation of the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV).

Fifteen years later, on August 2, 2018, the National Constituent Assembly agreed to the repeal of foreign exchange illicit transactions. The decree, published in Official Gazette number 41,452, is aimed at encouraging foreign currency investments in national territory and allowing foreign exchange transactions between individuals to flow more easily. The entry into effect of the decree implies the repeal of the Decree with Rank, Value and Force of Law of the Exchange Regime and its illicit acts, as well as article 138 of the Decree with Rank, Value and Force of Law of the BCV regarding the negotiation and trading of foreign currency in the country.

What does the repeal of foreign exchange offenses establish?

Article 1 of the Decree establishes that the purpose of the repeal is "to grant national or foreign individuals the broadest guarantees for the performance of their best participation in the productive socio-economic development model of the country".

The regulation refers to those unlawful activities related to commercial activities The dissemination of untruthful information regarding the exchange rate, the use of the unofficial rate to fix the value and the promotion of exchange illicit activities. In this sense, the other crimes established in the Law with Rank, Value and Force of Law of the Exchange Regime and its Illicit Activities remain in force.

It should be noted that those who have been penalized before the derogation came into force will not be exempted from the offense. for being detrimental to the public patrimony. The penalty will only be reduced by two thirds for those operations that do not exceed the equivalent of US$ 10,000. Those responsible for damaging the public patrimony will have to respond with the cancellation in cash of the amount established by the competent bodies.

The repeal empowers the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic to to request from the competent bodies the civil, administrative and criminal liability of those who have committed patrimonial damages through the exchange illicit acts, as well as to restore the conditions, repair and compensate when necessary.

We have prepared a brief document with the most relevant legal considerations of the repeal. Download it here.

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