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- Chapter I General Provisions


Art. 1 Scope
1 This Act applies to intermediate agents practicing any of the following professions and meeting the definitions of this Act:
a) agents in goodwill;
b) intelligence officers (commercial intelligence agents and private detectives).
2 The Department of Security (hereinafter: Department) draws up the official table for each of these professions and ensures that it is constantly updated and published each year.

Art. 2 Principle of the authorization
1 No person may, in the Canton of Geneva, practice any of the professions of intermediate agents mentioned in Article 1, without the benefit of prior authorization issued by the Department.
2 The authorization is personal and non-transferable.
3 It can only be issued to a natural person.
4 Where a legal person or a legal entity wishes to operate one of the agencies subject to the provisions of this Act, the authorization shall be issued to a director having the necessary powers to, on the one hand, represent the agency and engage it towards third parties and, on the other hand, to direct it. This director must fulfill all the conditions laid down in the law and the regulations.

Art. 3 Refusal of authorization
Authorization is refused:
(a) to the person deprived of the exercise of civil rights;
(b) an undischarged bankrupt and a person who has suspended payments for general and lasting insolvency;
(c) a person whose criminal record contains a criminal conviction for acts contrary to probity;
(d) to the person whose good repute could not be attested by a certificate of good life and morals; (e) to a person who has been the subject, for less than ten years, of the withdrawal of authorization provided for in section 4.

Art. 4 Withdrawal of authorization
1 The Department shall withdraw the authorization when the conditions under which this Law and its Implementing Regulations make the granting of such authorization are no longer fulfilled.
2 Similarly, the withdrawal may be pronounced temporarily or definitively in the event of any breach of any provision of this Act or its regulations.

Art. 5 Protection of authorized intermediaries
1 A person who, not being entered on the official roll of one of the intermediate agent professions mentioned in section 1,
  (a) uses a title designating one of those professions;
  (b) in fact practices or causes to be believed that he practices any of those professions;
  (c) uses, in particular in advertisements, circulars, letterheads, signs or in any other manner, words tending to suggest that he practices any of those professions, is liable to a fine up to 20 000 F.
2 The judge may order the publication of the judgment at the expense of the convicted person, in the Official Notice Sheet.
3 Attempt and complicity are also punishable.
4 If the offense has been committed in the management of a legal person, the latter is jointly and severally liable for the payment of the fine and costs.
5 The professional organizations concerned may bring a civil action.

Art. 6 Disciplinary sanctions
Whoever, being entered on the official register of a profession of intermediate agents, is guilty of a breach of his professional duties, is liable to the disciplinary sanctions provided for in this Law, without prejudice to the penalties 
he may incur in infringements of this Act and the regulations made under it.

Art. 6A Taxation Commission
A commission of taxation is appointed by the Council of State. It consists of the President of the Civil Court (13) who presides over it, a representative of the department and a representative of the profession concerned 
(business agents or intelligence agents).

Art. 7 Definition
The intermediary agent in goodwill is one who makes profession of interfering in the sale, purchase, transfer, delivery or resumption of a goodwill, whatever the type of trade exploited.

Art. 8 Warranties

1 The intermediary agent in goodwill can not exercise his profession without providing a guarantee of 10,000 francs, either in cash or in the form of a joint surety bond subscribed by a bank approved by the department, 
or in the form of surety insurance contracted with an insurance company or a professional or mutual society approved by the department; in the latter two cases, the insured must at all times justify payment of the premium for the current year 
and for the following year.

2 The guarantee covers the professional liability of the intermediate agent in goodwill. She is not released until two years after the date of the deletion from the register of her profession.

Art. 9 Business Agent
Business agents duly authorized by the department who wish to also practice the profession of intermediate agent in goodwill are exempt from the obligation to apply for authorization.

Art. 10 Supervisory Commission

1 Agents in goodwill are subject, without prejudice to the rules of common law, to the supervision of a commission of 5 members, including: Composition

(a) the State Councilor in charge of the department or his delegate, who chairs it;

(b) 1 judge of the Civil Court appointed by the court;

(c) 3 other members chosen among the agents in goodwill and the agents of businesses, of which 1 appointed by the Council of State and 2 by all the agents of businesses and agents in goodwill.

2 In addition, 2 alternates chosen from among the business agents and the agents in goodwill are appointed, one of whom is appointed by the Conseil d'Etat and the other by all the agents in goodwill and business agents.

3 The Regulations lay down the procedure for the election of the 2 regular members and one substitute member by all the agents in goodwill and business agents. (11)

Art. 11 Sessions
The supervisory commission may only sit validly when at least 3 of its members are present.

Art. 12 Skills

1 The mission of the supervisory commission is to ensure that the agents in goodwill practice their profession in accordance with the laws, regulations, habits and customs in force in the canton.

2 Where an agent in goodwill is at fault, the commission may, according to the gravity of the case, impose the following penalties:

(a) the warning, oral or written;

(b) written censure;

(c) suspension, that is to say the temporary withdrawal of the authorization for a period of 3 months to 3 years;

(d) the dismissal, that is to say the definitive withdrawal of the authorization.

3 No penalty may be pronounced against the offender unless he has been heard or duly summoned.

4 Suspension and dismissal are subject to ratification by the Department.

5 They are published in the official notice sheet.

Art. 13 Definition
1 The commercial information agent is the one who makes profession of giving commercial information on a third party or a particular business.
2 The private investigator is the one who makes the profession of giving information about a third party.
3 The provisions of Articles 14 and 16 apply equally to commercial information agents and private detectives.

Art. 14 Denomination
It is forbidden for an intelligence officer to give himself a title which could give rise to the idea that he would represent the public authority, in particular the organs of the official police.

Art. 15 Obligation to notify the public prosecutor
Any private investigator whose mandate is to search for the perpetrators of a crime or offense prosecuted ex officio is obliged to immediately inform the public prosecutor.

Art. 16 Monitoring
1 Intelligence agents are subject to the supervision of the department.
2 Where the information agent is at fault, the department may, depending on the seriousness of the case, impose the following penalties:
  (a) the warning, oral or written;
  (b) written censure;
  (c) the suspension, that is to say the temporary withdrawal of the authorization, for a period of 3 months to 3 years;
  (d) the dismissal, that is to say the definitive withdrawal of the authorization.
3 No sanction can be pronounced unless the offender has been previously heard by the State Councilor in charge of the department or duly summoned by the latter.
4 The suspension and dismissal are published in the official Notice Form, once they have come into force.
Art. 17 Delegation of powers
1 The Council of State may delegate all or part of the powers conferred on it by this law to one or more of its departments.
2 In this case, the right of appeal to the Council of State against the decisions of the lower authority is open, before recourse to the administrative chamber of the Court of Justice, if the regulation so provides.

Art. 18 Implementing Regulation
The Council of State is responsible for enacting the regulations for the application of this law.

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