Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, II Section, 4 March 2014, Grande Stevens and others v. Italy (Applications Nos. 18640/10, 18647/10, 18663/10, 18668/10 and 18698/10)

The initiation of criminal proceedings against the applicants on the same facts already sanctioned by Consob in 2007 violates the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time (Article 6 of the ECHR) and the right not to be tried or punished twice for the same acts (Article 4 of Protocol No. 7). According to the Court, in fact, notwithstanding the administrative character of the process before Consob, the penalties imposed can be considered as criminal, given the excessive severity of the same – both for the amount and accessory sanctions – as well as for their impact on the interests of the condemned. As criminal penalties, must therefore observe the guarantees that the Convention reserves to criminal trials.