Blackmail and Extortion
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Court: Criminal Court
Prosecution: Public Prosecutor's Office
Requested sentence: 11 months imprisonment for the crime of extortion.
CRIME OF BLACKMAIL
What is blackmail?
The crime of blackmail consists of demanding a reward or benefit, threatening to reveal private facts of his life or family relationships that are unknown, and may damage his fame, credit, or interest if such reward is not obtained.
Blackmail is included within the crime of threats, and the protected legal right is the freedom and privacy of the person since this crime attempts against the normal development of the victim’s life or that of his family members.
It is a fraudulent offense since the blackmailer acts for profit, seeking a benefit in exchange for not disclosing the facts. The accused uses the victim’s fear or weakness to obtain a reward.
In the event that the threat consists of revealing a crime committed by the victim, the Public Prosecutor’s Office may not convict the crime, and if the sentence is more than two years, it may be reduced by one or two degrees.
Penalties for the crime of blackmail
The penalties for blackmailing depend on the value or importance of the reward requested and on the facts threatened to be disclosed. The higher the reward or the benefit obtained, the higher the penalties. In turn, it also depends on whether the victim accepts the blackmail, the penalties being higher if this is the case.
In general, blackmail is punishable by imprisonment for two to four years if the delivery of all or part of what was demanded has been obtained and from four months to two years if it has not.
Sexual blackmail is one of the increasingly frequent modalities nowadays due to the great boom of technology and social networks.
This blackmail is characterized by the fact that the accused does not seek an economic benefit through the threat but rather sexual pleasure. To do so, he resorts to emotional blackmail through manipulation and seduction of the victim.
Once the accused has in his possession material to be able to blackmail the victim, he uses it to try to satisfy his sexual desires. The most common requests are: To have sexual relations with the blackmailer or another person, to send erotic photos or videos of the victim, and to force the victim to perform sexual activities against his or her will.
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CRIME OF EXTORTION
What is extortion?
The crime of extortion punishes those who, using violence or intimidation and acting for profit, force another to perform or omit a legal activity or business, thus causing damage to themselves or a third party.
The crime of extortion is defined in Article 243 of the Criminal Code. It is a property crime in which the accused acts for profit. It is a multifensive crime, so the protected legal assets are the victim’s patrimony, freedom, and physical integrity.
The typical conduct consists of intimidating or using violence against the passive subject so that he/she carries out the intentions dictated by the active subject. Faced with this violent situation, the victim yields to carry out such activities, damaging his patrimony or that of a third party.
For example, we would be talking about extortion if a person threatening a bank employee with a gun forces him to make a computer entry into an account. Or if the victim is put in a car and threatened and beaten for hours until he signs documents to settle a dispute over the ownership of a business.
The consummation of this crime lies in its fraudulent nature. The active subject acts with a profit motive, so he is aware of the crime he is committing against the other person.
Penalties for the crime of extortion
Extortion carries a penalty of one to five years imprisonment, in addition to the penalties that may be imposed for the violence exercised on the victim.
Having the best criminal lawyers in Barcelona can be decisive in successfully resolving your case. Contact us. Our specialized extortion attorney will seek the best legal strategy to protect your rights and interests.
Differences between Blackmail, Extortion and Threats
The crimes of blackmail, extortion, and threats have in common the fraudulent nature and the profit motive of the accused since he seeks a benefit or reward through the threat of harm or damage to the victim. Likewise, the perpetrator knows he is committing an unlawful act against the passive subject. The legal assets protected are also very similar, such as freedom, patrimony, privacy, and the person’s integrity.
The crime of extortion differs from the rest in that, to execute it, it is necessary to resort to violence or intimidation, and the active subject does not always seek a benefit since this crime is simply marked by the harm caused to the victim or a third party. There are also differences in penalties, with the crime of threats generally being the most serious, although it will depend on the specific circumstance. The penalties are always higher if the victim gives in to the blackmail, threat, or extortion and the active subject obtains what he/she was looking for.
The crime of threats has a subjective character, so it is more controversial than the other two. In addition, it is necessary that the threatened act constitutes a crime in the Penal Code to be considered as such. On the contrary, in blackmail and extortion, this criminal condition is not necessary, but the mere fact of blackmailing or extorting is a crime.
If you are involved in an extortion or blackmail crime, contact a specialist such as Esteban Abogados Penalistas. We have professionals with great technical knowledge to offer you specialized assistance.
Tribunal Supremo. Sala de lo Penal.
«El art. 243 del Cpenal define el delito de extorsión en los siguientes términos: «El que con ánimo de lucro, obligue a otro, con violencia o intimidación, a realizar u omitir un acto o negocio jurídico en perjuicio de su patrimonio o del de un tercero, será castigado con la pena de prisión de uno a cinco años, sin perjuicio de las que pudieron imponerse por los actos de violencia física realizados».
Dicho delito de extensión, es calificado por la doctrina como un «delito de encuentro», ciertamente de encuentro forzado porque el sujeto pasivo/perjudicado es obligado a facilitar la confección y entrega al sujeto activo de un documento que incorpora un valor económico del que resulta un perjuicio, o bien para el extorsionado, o bien para un tercero.»
Sentencia AP BU 12/15
“Por su parte, la STS 20-12-2006 , señala que el delito de amenazas es un delito de mera actividad y de peligro, cuyo núcleo esencial es el anuncio, mediante hechos o palabras, de la causación a otro de un mal que constituya delito contra uno de los bienes o valores jurídicos que se relacionan en la norma tipificadora, y que sea capaz de producir en el sujeto pasivo un estado o sentimiento de intimidación o amedrentamiento (véase STS de 5 de octubre de 2.000 ), aunque, como delito de simple actividad y no de resultado, no es necesario que se produzca la perturbación del ánimo en el sujeto pasivo perseguida por el autor.
El bien jurídico tutelado por la norma es la libertad de la persona y el derecho de ésta al sosiego y a la tranquilidad personal en el desarrollo normal y ordenado de su vida, que se ve violentado por el anuncio del mal con el que se atemoriza al sujeto pasivo, a su familia o a las personas con las que esté íntimamente vinculado aquél. Es decir, el mal debe ser injusto, creíble, determinado, posible y dependiente de la voluntad del sujeto activo, debiendo valorarse estos elementos a la luz de las circunstancias concurrentes […]