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'Blackmail' in Commercial Transactions?

27 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2012  

Sergio A. Muro

Universidad Torcuato Di Tella - School of Law

Date Written: October 4, 2010


Blackmail, the crime consisting in a threat to perform a legally permissible action which can potentially harm the victim unless the victim gives the blackmailer some sort of consideration, has attracted lots of attention from law professors and philosophers. Other threats to engage in legally permissible acts, such as commercial threats, do not stir as much controversy up. In fact, commercial threats are believed to merely be instances of “hard bargaining.” This paper will question this classification and will attempt to show that there is at least one category of commercial threats, particularly those which can arise within a long-term lopsided commercial relationship, i.e. distressed lending, that are in no meaningful way different from the ones that have warranted support for blackmail criminalization. As a result, this paper suggests that analogical solutions should be prescribed in both cases as a way to maintain coherence within the legal system.

Keywords: Blackmail, commercial threats, distressed lending, bankruptcy, bargaining

Suggested Citation

Muro, Sergio A., 'Blackmail' in Commercial Transactions? (October 4, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Sergio A. Muro (Contact Author)

Universidad Torcuato Di Tella - School of Law ( email )

Miñones 2177
Buenos Aires, Capital Federal 1428

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