INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS ON ANTI-CORRUPTION COMPLIANCE MATTERS IN ARGENTINA
Recent legislative developments in anti-corruption in Argentina began with the enactment of the new Anti-corruption and Bribery (ACB) Law and the Guidelines for Integrity Programs of the Anti-corruption Office (AO). This article will provide a general overview of the applicable provisions of both these instruments to internal investigations on matters of anti-corruption compliance.
The recent legislative history of anti-corruption compliance matters in Argentina hit a peak with the enactment of theACB Law on 1 December 2017 (coming into force on 1 March 2018).
President Mauricio Macri signed the decree entrusting the AO with establishing guidelines to help legal entities comply with the provisions of articles 22 and 23 of the ACB Law, which address the requisites for integrity programmes, as compliance programmes are named. The AO prepared a preliminary draft that was released to the public for comments on 1 August 2018. The final version, a document of 70 pages, was published in the Official Gazette on 4 October 2018 and includes a few amendments to the initial draft and contributions made during the public consultation process (AO Guidelines).
Despite the limited legal jurisdiction of the AO’s administrative acts and decisions, the main goal of the guidelines is to: “provide a technical guidance for companies, civil society organizations, other legal entities, state agencies, members of the justice system and the professional community”. In addition, “they must be understood as a complement to the various and rich specialized literature on compliance, available in Argentine and foreign sources”.
The ACB Law partially amended the Criminal Code and made legal entities criminally liable for: (i) bribing local public officials, foreign public officials or officials of international organisations; (ii) local and transnational influence peddling; (iii) negotiations that are incompatible with public office; (iv) illegal payments made to public officials under the appearance of taxes or fees owed to the relevant government agency upon undue request by the official; (v) illegal enrichment of public officials and employees; and (vi) producing aggravated false balance sheets and reports to cover up local or transnational bribery or influence peddling.
Jan-Mar 2019 Issue
Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal