February 14, 2017
Anti-bribery compliance in Mexico is undergoing a change: a new Anticorruption Law will go into effect in July 2017 requiring, among other things, that the country’s President publically disclose his tax returns.
TRACE recently hosted a webinar to discuss the new Mexican Anticorruption Law. “This is the most comprehensive anti-corruption system applied in Mexico,” said Martha Mallory, Latin America Regional Manager for TRACE. “This new law is the closest thing we have ever had in Mexico to the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act, and the Clean Companies Act … The consequences are the same.”
Among other significant reforms, the General Law of Administrative Liabilities will, upon taking effect, require all federal Public Officials to disclose their:
- potential conflicts of interest; and
- tax returns.
Current law already requires regular disclosure of Public Officials’ assets—once a year in May, as well as within 60 days of either becoming or ceasing to be a Public Official. The new law extends this disclosure obligation to potential conflicts of interest and tax returns. Delaying disclosure is considered a “non-serious” offense, and may be sanctioned by public or private reprimand or suspension. Public Officials who refuse to disclose may be terminated or temporarily ineligible to carry out their duties.
The obligation to disclose will be imposed on all “Public Officials,” including the country’s President, Supreme Court Justices, and members of Congress. That said, not everyone who is considered a public official for purposes of the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act, or other anticorruption standards is considered a Public Official under the new Mexican law. Employees of state owned entities, for example, are not affected by the new law. Likewise doctors and other employees of state- or other government-owned/financed entities such as public schools and public hospitals. Union leaders are not considered Public Officials under this law either. Local officials are also not covered, as they are bound by their own states’ laws that may or not have similar obligations. Although these individuals are not required to make disclosures as “Public Officials” under the new law, one should not take that to mean anything about whether they fall within the scope of anticorruption laws such as the FCPA.
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