“Constituent Decree that Repeals the Exchange Regime and its Illicit Activities” (the “Decree”), was published in Official Gazette No. 41,452 of August 2, 2018.

Abrogation: The decree repeals the following legal instruments:

  • The Exchange Regime and Illicit Activities Law published in the Extraordinary Official Gazette No. 6,210 on December 30, 2015 (“Exchange Law”).
  • Article 138 of the Law of the Central Bank of Venezuela, only concerning the offenses of negotiation and trade of foreign currency in the country. The rest of the offenses provided under Article 138 (i.e., transfer of funds, imports, exports, trading and gold assessment) remain in force.
  • Any other provisions that collide with the Decree.

Non-favorability: Article 3 of the Decree establishes that the exception of retroactivity over the most favorable rule will not apply with regards to the “serious offenses” provided in Articles 21 and 23 of the Exchange Law that occurred until the issuing of the Decree. Articles 21 and 23 of the Exchange Law refer, respectively, to: (i) acquisition of foreign currency through fraudulent means (penalized with prison of 4 to 8 years and a penalty fee of 12 Tax Units) and (ii) deviation in the use of foreign currency (penalized with prison of 3 to 7 years and a penalty fee of 10 Tax Units).

Less harmfulness: Article 4 of the Decree reduces to two thirds the sanctions established in Articles 21 and 23 of the Exchange Law. The reduction shall only apply provided the illicit exchange operations committed by the person or entity do not exceed USD 10,000.00 as a whole.

Civil Liability: Civil liability derived from any illicit exchange operation committed up until the entry into force of the Decree shall subsist.

Entry into force:The Decree entered into force on August 2, 2018.

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