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Decree with Status, Value, and Force of Law of Partial Amendment to the Law against Exchange Crimes

Decree No. 636 containing a Partial Amendment to the Decree with the Status, Value, and Force of Law against Exchange Crimes (the “Decree”) was published in Official Gazette, Extraordinary, No. 6,117 dated December 4, 2013. According to temporary provission third of the Decree, the natural persons residing in the Republic who open or hold accounts in foreign currency with the Public Banking System are exempt from the application of articles 5 and 9 of the Decree and of any other provision conflicting with said temporary provision. Articles 5 and 9 of the Decree established the following:

 

Article 5. The natural or legal persons that import, export, bring in, or take out, foreign currency from or to the territory of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in an amount exceeding ten thousand dollars of the United States of America (US$10,000.00) or its equivalent amount in another foreign currency are bound to declare before the Administrative Authority for Foreign Exchange Matters the amount and nature of the relevant transaction or activity.

 

All of the foregoing is without prejudice to the competence in this matter inherent in the Venezuelan Central Bank.

 

The securities issued by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and acquired by natural or legal persons are exempt from performance of this obligation, as well as the foreign currency acquired by non-resident natural persons that are in transit or are tourists in the national territory and whose permanence in the country is shorter than 180 calendar days; however, they are subject to the penalties prescribed in this Law when they commit the crimes herein established.

 

Article 9.It is of the exclusive competence of the Venezuelan Central Bank, the purchase and sale of any amount of foreign currency, either in currency or in securities, made with the ultimate purpose of obtaining for itself or for its clients the payment of amounts in foreign currency for the sale of the securities at a time prior to the date of their maturity. He who contravenes this provision commits a foreign exchange crime and shall be penalized with a fine of double the amount of the transaction or its equivalent in Bolivars. 

 

He who, in one or several transactions occurred in the same calendar year, without the participation of the Venezuelan Central Bank, purchases, sells or in any manner whatsoever offers, alienates, transfers, or receives foreign currency in an amount ranging from ten thousand dollars of the United States of America (US$ 10,000.00) to twenty thousand dollars of the United States of America (US$20,000.00), or its equivalent in another foreign currency, shall be penalized with a fine of double the amount of the transaction or its equivalent in Bolivars.

 

In the preceding case, if the amount of the transaction exceeds twenty thousand dollars of the United States of America (US$ 20,000.00), or its equivalent in another foreign currency, the penalty shall be imprisonment from two to six years and a fine equivalent in Bolivars to double the amount of the transaction.

 

Without prejudice to the obligation of reimbursement or sale of the foreign currency to the Venezuelan Central Bank, according to the applicable legislation.

 

 

The Law against Exchange Crimes, published in Official Gazette, Extraordinary, No. 5,975, dated May 17, 2010 is repealed by the Decree; however, the processes currently ongoing will be decided according to the substantive and procedural rules of the former  law. 

 

The Decree became effective upon its publication in the Official Gazette.

 

In order to access the Decree, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“NOTE: THIS INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE ON ANY SPECIFIC MATTER AND ITS CONTENT ARE INTENDED AS A MANAGEMENT ALERT AS TO CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN VENEZUELA, ANY SPECIFIC LEGAL QUESTIONS REGARDING THE POSSIBLE APPLICATION OF NEW OR PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO PARTICULAR SITUATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO TRAVIESO EVANS ARRIA RENGEL & PAZ.”