Whistleblowing and self-reporting

Whistleblowing

Are whistleblowers protected in your jurisdiction?

Yes, Law 19/2008 provides for some mechanisms aimed at protecting whistleblowers: the right to remain anonymous until the suspect is formally charged, the right to be transferred once the suspect is formally charged and the right to benefit from witness protection programmes.

Other than that, the Central Department for Investigation and Penal Action has also made available an online digital platform that allows for the filing of anonymous criminal complaints regarding suspects of bribery.

Self-reporting

Is it common for leniency to be shown to organisations that self-report and/or cooperate with authorities? If so, what process must be followed?

The recipient of a bribe may be exempted from a penalty if:

  • they report the crime within 30 days of committing it and always before the proceedings begin, and provided that they have voluntarily returned the offer that they had previously accepted (or its value); or
  • before performing the act that they were supposed to carry out, they voluntarily renounce the offer or the promise that they had previously accepted (or its value).

With respect to active bribery, the perpetrator may be exempted from a penalty if, before the performance of the act, they withdraw the promise, refuse to make the offer or ask for its return.

Otherwise, the penalty may be specially mitigated if the perpetrator:

  • provides effective assistance in gathering of decisive evidence for the purpose of identifying or catching other persons responsible, up until the end of the proceedings in the lower court; or
  • there is evidence that he or she offered the bribe in response to a demand by the public official.