Mexico made amendments this week to its anti-corruption laws that will affect those doing business in Mexico and strives to change the way its people, and the world, perceive how business works there.
Some of the changes, most of them structural implementation of the National Anti-Corruption System put into place last year, took effect immediately.
But of greatest relevance to those working in Mexico are the regulations that will come into effect next year. Private parties—both individuals and corporations—will be liable for administrative sanctions and hefty fines, whereas in the past it was mostly public servants who faced noncriminal sanctions. A qualifying compliance program and cooperating with investigators will mitigate sanctions, much like they do with U.S. international anti-corruption laws.
“This is a very comprehensive and important reform for the anti-corruption legal framework in Mexico,” said Vicente Corta Fernandez, a compliance partner at White & Case in Mexico City. “It’s not perfect and has not been proven, but it’s a very big step toward fighting corruption in Mexico.” The amendments also include broadened definitions of violations, ranging from bribery and abuse of office to concealed enrichment and obstruction of justice.
In particular, the new definition of influence peddling is very broad and relevant for Mexican and international corporations that work with Mexican officials, Corta Fernandez said. The definition makes it illegal for private individuals—relatives of a state official or executive, for example—to use their influence, economic or political power to pressure a public servant on behalf of the person applying the pressure, or a third party.
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