During the recent opening of the ordinary sessions of the National Congress, President Macri promised substantial amendments to criminal legislation, in particular the draft bill introduced to Congress in October 2016, that establishes corporate criminal liability on corruption crimes (the Draft Bill).
The Draft Bill establishes penalties for legal entities who have participated in any offense against the public administration and/or transnational corruption. Thus, the Draft Bill would finally adapt our legal system to the international standards.
Furthermore, the Draft Bill intends to prevent cases of corruption and accelerate the existing investigations on corruption offenses, in order to improve effectiveness of punishment to those responsible for such offenses.
In this sense, such Draft Bill also provides penalties that includes fines of up to twenty percent (20%) of the annual gross income of the year prior to the alleged offense for which the company would be sanctioned.
As a general guideline for the penalties, judges shall take into consideration, among other aspects, the level and consistency of the measures taken to control and supervise any such corrupt offense by an adequate compliance program (programa de integridad adecuado).
If the Draft Bill becomes into Law, the decisions within the company would consider the implementation of the adequate measures to prevent, detect and alert the authorities of any criminal offenses, such as the codes of ethics, periodic trainings, hot-lines available, and any other procedure that would allow the company to obtain information related to third parties' and/or regular and/or occasional business partners.