Czech Republic: Miscellaneous

Criminal liability of legal entities. The Government has presented to the Chamber of Deputies a bill on the criminal liability of legal entities. Pursuant to this bill, legal entities would be punished only for criminal acts explicitly stated in the law, such as, for example, tax evasion, failure to pay statutory insurance, misrepresentation of information on financial performance and total assets and liabilities, credit fraud, and criminal acts relating to the environment.
The punishment could include, for example, penalties, the prohibition of business activities, the forfeiture of property, or a ban on receiving subsidies. The Act on Criminal Liability of Legal Entities should become effective on 1 January 2012.

Amendment to the Commercial Code. A Government bill to amend the Commercial Code in several areas is currently being discussed. It deals, among other aspects, with the concept of registered office. Entrepreneurs will be obliged to have a legal reason for using the premises that are recorded as their registered office or place of business over the entire period when these premises are recorded in the Commercial Register. If an entrepreneur or an individual does not comply with this obligation, the Trade Licensing Office will be permitted to cancel his/her trade licence.
Another part of the draft amendment contains the new provisions regulating the decisive date for the participation in a general meeting of listed joint stock companies, or joint stock companies whose shares have not been accepted for trading in a regulated market. For shares traded in European regulated markets, the decisive date will always be the seventh day before the general meeting. For shares that are not publicly traded, the decisive date will be the seventh day before the general meeting but there is a possibility for a different procedure if the articles of association allow for it.

Business licences. Foreign entrepreneurs who start their business do not have to be registered in the Commercial Register any more in order to get a business licence. This requirement has been cancelled by the amendment to the law on foreigners as at 1 January 2011. There is also no obligation to pay an administrative charge of CZK 5.000 to register in the Commercial Register. This affects foreigners from countries outside the EU who reside in the Czech Republic on a long-term basis.

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