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Economic And Commercial Crimes

TITLE II
ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL CRIMES

Article 716- Participation of a Juridical Person in a Crime.

(1)    Where a juridical person takes part in the commission of one of the crimes specified in this Title in the manner provided under Article 34 of this Code, it shall be punishable, depending on the nature of the crime, in accordance with the provisions of Article 90.
(2)    Where the manager, attorney, member, administrator or member of the controlling or winding-up authority of a juridical person takes part in the commission of a crime according to sub-article (1) above due to his position in its management, he shall be punishable in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Title.
(3)    Nothing in this Article shall affect the provisions of Article 143.

CHAPTER I
CRIMES AGAINST INTANGIBLE RIGHTS

Article 717- Attack on Another’s Credit.

(1)    Whoever, maliciously or with intent to cause damage, seriously injures or compromises the credit of another by statements or imputations he knows to be false,
is punishable, upon complaint, with a fine of not less than one thousand Birr, or simple imprisonment for not less than three months.
(2)    The provisions regarding calumny (Art. 613(3)) may not be applied concurrently with the provisions of this Article.

Article 718- Harmful False Information.

Whoever, being in a position to know the state of affairs of an undertaking, a commercial firm or a cooperative, whether as founder, member, manager, director, attorney, member of a board of directors or audit, or a liquidator, intentionally gives or causes to be given essential and untrue information, whether in notices to the public, or in proposals or reports to a general meeting,
Is punishable, upon complaint, with a fine of not less than one thousand Birr, or simple imprisonment for not less than three months.

Article 719- Unfair Competition.

Whoever intentionally commits against another, an abuse of economic competition by means of direct or any other process contrary to the rules of good faith in business, in particular:
a)    by discrediting another, his goods or dealings, his activities of business or by making untrue or false statements as to his own goods, dealings, activities or business in order to derive a benefit therefrom against his competitors; or
b)    by taking measures such as to create confusion with the goods, dealings or products or with the activities or business of another; or
c)    by using inaccurate or false styles, distinctive signs, marks or professional titles in order to induce a belief as to his particular status or capacity; or
d)    by granting or offering undue benefits to the servants, agents or assistants of another, in order to induce them to fail in their duties or obligations in their work or to induce them to discover or reveal any secret of manufacture, organization or working; or
e)    by revealing or taking advantage of such secrets obtained or revealed in any other manner contrary to good faith,
is punishable, upon complaint, with a fine of not less than one thousand Birr, or simple imprisonment for not less than three months.

Article 720- Infringement of Marks, Declarations of Origin, Designs or Models.

(1)    Whoever intentionally:
a)    infringes, imitates or passes off, in such manner as to deceive the public, another’s mark or distinctive signs or declarations of origin on any produce or goods or their packing, whether commercial, industrial or agricultural; or
b)    sells or offers for sale, imports or exports, distributes or places on the marker produce or goods under a mark which he knows to be infringed, imitated, passed off or improperly affixed; or
c)    refuses to declare the origin of produce or goods in his possession under such marks,
shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment not exceeding ten years.
(2)    Whoever unlawfully so acts with respect to intellectual property rights, particularly industrial designs or models, or patented inventions or processes, duly registered and protected by existing laws or agreements, national or international, shall be liable to the same punishments.
(3)    Where the act mentioned under sub-article (1) or (2) is committed negligently, the punishment shall be simple imprisonment not exceeding five years.

Article 721- Infringement of Rights Relating to Literary, Artistic or Creative Works.

(1)    Whoever, apart from cases punishable more severely by another provision of  this Code, intentionally violates laws, regulations or rules issued in relation to rights on literary, artistic or creative works,
is punishable with rigorous imprisonment not exceeding ten years.
(2)    Where the act is committed negligently, the punishment shall be
Simple imprisonment not exceeding five years.

Article 722- Right of Complaint.

Where the crimes in this Chapter are punishable upon complaint, only the person or professional association injured shall have the right to make the complaint.

Article 723- Aggravated Cases.

Where one of the crimes provided in this Chapter is committed to further the commission of fraudulent misrepresentation, the punishment provided for the latter shall apply concurrently.

Article 724- Related Sanctions.

Apart from the penal sanction and any civil claim, the Court shall order the confiscation of the objects, goods or works which are infringements as well as of the proceeds of sale or performance.
The judgment shall be given the necessary publicity by the Court.

CHAPTER II
CRIMES RELATING TO PROCEEDINGS OF DEBT, EXECUTION AND BANKRUPTCY

Article 725- Fraudulent Insolvency.

Whoever intentionally conceals the fact that he is insolvent and contracts an obligation knowing that he is unable or unwilling to execute it,
Shall be punishable, upon compliant, with a fine not exceeding fifty thousand Birr, or with simple imprisonment.

Article 726- Irregular Bankruptcy.

(1)    A debtor who has caused his own insolvency or who has intentionally aggravated it by acting with culpable lack of foresight, or with gross negligence or mismanagement, in the exercise of his profession, whether by failing to keep proper books or accounts, by incurring excessive expenditure or by hazardous speculation or in any other manner,
Shall be punishable with simple imprisonment.
(2)    Where the act is committed negligently, the punishment shall be simple imprisonment not exceeding six months, or fine not exceeding five thousand Birr.
(3)    Proceedings may be taken against a debtor not registered in the commercial registry only upon a complaint by the creditor, to be brought within three months from the delivery of the declaration of default.
(4)    A creditor who caused a debtor to act with lack of foresight or negligence, resulting in insolvency, or who acted towards him with usury, may not bring a complaint against such debtor.

Article 727- Fraudulent Bankruptcy.

(1)    A debtor adjudged bankrupt who has intentionally disposed of his assets to the prejudice of this creditors,
a)    either materially, whether by assigning or by destroying, damaging, depreciating or rendering useless certain property forming a part of such assets; or
b)    fictitiously, whether by removing or concealing property, by relying on or recognizing not-existent debts or claims or by inciting a third party to make fictitious claims, or in any other manner pretending that his estate is less than it is in fact, in particular by means of incorrect accounting, falsified correspondence or a false balance sheet,
shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for not less than six months.
(2)    In serious cases where the damage was of particular gravity or was imposed upon the Defence Forces, or a public undertaking or service, the punishment shall be rigorous imprisonment not exceeding eight years.
(3)    A third party who has committed such acts to the prejudice of the creditors shall be punishable with simple imprisonment not exceeding three years.
(4)    Where the acts of the criminal amount to fraud, the relevant provisions shall apply concurrently.

Article 728- Fraud in Execution.

(1)    A debtor subject to proceedings by way of execution against whom a declaration of default has been delivered, and who with intent to prejudice his creditors has reduced his assets, whether materially of fictitiously as provided in Article 727,
Shall be punishable with simple imprisonment, or, in grave cases, with rigorous imprisonment not exceeding five years.
(2)    A third party who has so acted to the prejudice of the creditors shall be punishable with simple imprisonment.

Article 729- Misappropriation or Destruction of Property Subject to Pledge or Lien.

(1)    Any debtor who, with intent to obtain for himself or to procure for a third persons a benefit, or, to cause damage to his creditor, removes, assigns, damages, depreciates or renders useless his property, whether movable or immovable, and which was held by the creditor by way of pledge, usufruct or lien,
is punishable with simple imprisonment for not less than one year.
(2)    Any third person who so acts with the same intent to the prejudice of the creditors is punishable with simple imprisonment not exceeding three years, or fine not exceeding fifty thousand Birr.

Article 730- Misappropriation or Destruction of Property Subject to a Order. 

(1)    Whoever, to the prejudice of his creditors, improperly appropriates or uses property under seizure or sequestration, listed in a bankruptcy, or in a document evidencing a lien, or destroys, damages, depreciates or renders such property useless,
is punishable with simple imprisonment.
(2)    A third person who so acts to the prejudice of the creditors,
is punishable with simple imprisonment or fine.
(3)    Where the acts punished under this Article are performed solely to the detriment of the creditors, Article 439 of this Code may not be applied concurrently.

Article 731- Unjustifiable Preference.

        Any debtor who, having been adjudged bankrupt or having given a declaration
of   default, and knowing himself to be insolvent, has preferred certain of his
creditors to the prejudice of the others, in particular:
a)    by paying debts not due or by paying debts as maturity other than in cash or by the customary securities; or
b)      by giving on his own account security for a debt when not bound so to do; or
c)    In any other similar manner,
Is punishable with simple imprisonment not exceeding three years.

Article 732- Purchase of Votes.

(1)    Any debtor who, in order to obtain a favourable vote of one of his creditors or a composition by the Court, grants or promises particular advantages:
a)    to that creditor or to his representative in a general meeting; or
b)    to a member of the administration or winding-up in a bankruptcy,
is punishable with simple imprisonment not exceeding three years.
(2)    A third person who so acts in favour of the debtor, or any person who with the same intent causes such an advantage to be granted or promised to him, is liable to the same punishments.

Article 733- Fraudulent Composition.

(1)    Any debtor who, in order to obtain a scheme of arrangement or the ratification of a composition by the Court, misleads his creditors, the commissioner in bankruptcy or the competent authority, as to his financial position, in particular by means of incorrect or falsified accounts, correspondence or a balance sheet,
is punishable with simple imprisonment.
(2)    A third person who so acts in favour of the debtor is liable to the same punishment.