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Case C-617/10 Fransson [2013]


  • Fransson, a Swedish Fisherman, was fined for tax avoidance in 2007
  • 2 years later, in 2009, criminal proceedings were started against him based on the same tax avoidance
  • Fransson claimed that this was in violation of Art 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which provides that someone should not be punished twice by criminal law (the principle of ne bis in idem)


  • Could Fransson be punished twice?


  • Yes


  • Article 51(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is to be interpreted as granting jurisdiction to the Charter whenever a situation is governed by EU law (much wider than “interpreting” in the Article itself)
  • The first punishment, the fine, was merely an administrative penalty, and not a criminal penalty
  • A criminal penalty can be judged based on the national classification of the offence, the nature of the offence and the severity of its penalty
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