Argentina: New law on corporate criminal responsibility

In the Americas, corruption was and still is a sensitive and important issue

In the Americas, corruption was and still is a sensitive and important issue

Argentina: New law on corporate criminal responsibility

Leer en Español: Argentina lucha contra la corrupción

Corruption is one of the crimes that most affects a Democracy. It hinders institutions, society, and justice; it’s a phenomenon that has international significance, which requires coordinated action between different States in order to adequately handle the situation.

The new law on Corporate Criminal Responsibility for corruption offenses was approved by the National Congress of the Argentine Republic in November. It had entered the Chamber of Deputies in September 2017, after passing through the Senate.

According to statements made by members of Congress, the purpose of the regulation is to penalize legal entities for corruption offenses. The crimes are bribery and influence peddling, negotiations incompatible with the public function, illicit enrichment and realization of false balances in companies.The operation path proposed by the law is one of sanctions and mitigation through standards of integrity and cooperation with the authorities.

In the Americas, corruption was and still is a sensitive and important issue. That is why Argentina is, as part of the OAS, a signatory of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and, also because of that, the problem is in constant discussion. It was not until the signing of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption in 1996 through Law No. 24759 that the concept itself began to be shaped into the national legislation.

It should be noted that Argentina recognizes the constitutional legal status of the international standards that they subscribe to in its National Constitution. Under this framework, the Convention and the Mechanism for its Implementation (MESICIC) constitutes the main cooperation instruments to prevent, detect, punish, and eradicate corruption in the group.

On the other hand, and as an effort to complement the international mandate to which the new Law of Corporate Criminal Responsibility of Argentina responds, regarding the negotiations of Argentina on its possible entry into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), this law represents great commitment given that it complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bribery Convention of the OECD, ratified by Argentina, the only member that hadn’t yet regulated the activity.

The Argentinian initiative is also part of an international context of growing concern and interest in the involvement of commercial companies and financial entities in the commission of crimes, many of which constitute human rights abuses.

In the Argentine Republic, as a result of the application of the Convention, there are several bodies in charge of activities derived from the legislation that it establishes who act under a synergistic paradigm. The Anti-Corruption Office (OA), created by Law of Ministries No. 25233 of 1999 within the framework of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, is the body in charge of the struggle of the national public sector against corruption. The OA, a key actor in the development discussed, will be responsible for generating guidelines for the implementation and regulation for the private sector in terms of integrity, as well as implementing the obligation of State suppliers to have these programs.

 

Latin American Post | Antonella Giordano

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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