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Anti-corruption In Mexico

1. Bribery in the home (private to public)

1.1 The Legal Environment

Bribery of public officials (cohecho) is illegal in Mexico, according to Article 222 of the Federal Criminal Code. Similar prohibitions can be found in state criminal statutes. The new General Law of Administrative Responsibilities, which takes effect in July 2017, imposes hefty administrative penalties for actions that are essentially the same.

1.2 What does bribery mean?

Bribery can be perpetrated by both public officials who seek or accept bribes and private individuals who offer or pay to corrupt a public official. The Federal Criminal Code imposes the following penalties

  • Any public servant who, directly or indirectly, solicits or receives unduly for himself or another person money or any other present, or takes a promise to do or refrain from doing any just or unjust conduct in connection with the public servant’s functions; and

  • Whoever gives or offers money or any other present to any of the people listed in the preceding paragraph in the hopes of persuading a public servant to perform or refrain from performing any just or unjust act linked to the public servant’s role.

1.3 What does it mean to be a public official?

The definition of a public servant in the Mexican Federal Criminal Code is broad, and it includes anyone with a job, a position, or a charge of any kind in the central Public Federal Administration, Mexico City, decentralized organisms, government majority-owned companies, organizations or entities that have been assimilated to these, public trusts, autonomous Constitutional organs, and Federalism. State governors, local legislatures, and magistrates in local tribunals are all subject to the requirements.

1.4 Bribery’s Consequences

(a) For the persons and corporations engaged

The Federal Criminal Code of Mexico imposes the same sanctions on public officials as it does on those who bribe them. The following are the penalties:

  • up to 14 years in jail

  • A financial fine is possible.

  • If applicable, removal from public office

  • Prohibition from performing public functions for up to 14 years

b) In the case of legal entities

The Mexican Federal Criminal Code established direct criminal culpability for legal organizations as of June 2016. Bribery, influence peddling, fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, environmental crimes, tax fraud, and securities violations are all crimes that can be perpetrated by legal companies.

Mexico City’s (previously known as the Federal District’s) Criminal Code recently enacted criminal liability for corporations. If it can be demonstrated that an individual acting on the company’s behalf possessed the required intent, the element of intent is imputed to the firm. a hundred Penalties can be based on daily company profits that correspond to the amount of time an individual would have spent in prison if the crime had been committed by an individual, with 920 days of profits being assessed for each year of prison sentence that would have been imposed if the crime had been committed by an individual. 102

Individuals and corporations might face administrative penalties in the public procurement arena for behaviors that are similar to criminal bribery.

The following are the penalties:

  • Debarment for up to eight years for people or fines of up to USD 275,000 or 35 percent of the contract’s value, whichever is greater.

For businesses

  • Fines of up to USD 7.3 million, or 35 percent of the contract’s value, whichever is higher; debarment for up to 10 years

  • Beginning in July 2017, the General Law of Administrative Responsibilities imposes fines of up to USD 6 million for conduct that broadly corresponds to the concept of criminal bribery.

1.5 Contributions from politics

In Mexico, foreigners are not permitted to participate in politics.

Parties and independent candidates must report all money and expenditures by source (which must be legal). Political campaigns are subject to strict expenditure limits.

1.6 Hospitality expenses are subject to a limit (gifts, travel, meals, entertainment, among others)

Hospitality expenses are not subject to any quantitative or qualitative restrictions under the Federal Criminal Code. The question of whether a hospitality expense qualifies as bribery must be decided on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all of the facts and circumstances.

 

2. Bribery in the home (private to private)

2.1 The Legal Environment

Mexican law does not clearly prohibit domestic bribery, while an employee who accepts a bribe from a third party might possibly be charged with fraud or theft and lose their job.

2.2 Hospitality expenses are subject to a limit (gifts, travel, meals, entertainment, among others)

Hospitality expenses are not subject to any quantitative or qualitative restrictions under the Federal Criminal Code. Rather, whether a gift or act of hospitality falls under the concept of bribery is determined by the motive of the person who gives it.

 

3. Foreign public officials’ corruption

3.1 The Legal Environment

The Mexican Federal Criminal Code, Article 222 bis, makes it illegal to bribe foreign public officers.

3.2 Definition of foreign public officials’ corruption

Corruption of a foreign public official is defined as intentionally giving something of value to a foreign public official, either directly or indirectly, in order to influence him or her to act or refrain from acting in relation to functions inherent to his or her position, in order to obtain or retain an undue business advantage.

3.3 Explanation of the term “foreign public official”

Any person holding public employment, commission, or office in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches, or in any public entity, including state-owned companies, of a foreign state, as well as any official of an international organization, is defined as a foreign public official under the law.

3.4 Consequences of Foreign Public Official Corruption

(a) For the individuals involved

  • Consequences of up to 14 years in prison

  • Fines of up to USD3,700 are possible.

  • Contracting with any federal public authority is prohibited for up to eight years.

b) In the case of a legal entity

  • Fines of up to USD3,700 are possible.

  • The legal entity is dissolved.

  • Contracting with any federal public authority is prohibited for up to eight years.

  • Individuals and corporations might face administrative penalties in the public procurement arena for behaviors that are similar to illegal bribery of foreign public authorities.

3.5 Hospitality expenses are subject to a limit (gifts, travel, meals, entertainment, among others)

Hospitality expenses are not subject to any quantitative or qualitative restrictions under the Criminal Code. Rather, whether a gift or act of hospitality falls under the concept of bribery is determined by the motive of the person who gives it.