By: Diego Noguera, Matías Zegers and Mauricio Halpern
On November 20, 2018, Law No. 21,121 was published in the Official Gazette, modifying the Criminal Code regarding bribery, and Law No. 20,393 about criminal liability of legal entities.
In addition to increasing the penalties for bribery crimes, the aforementioned amendment of the Criminal Code criminalizes bribery between individuals and unfair administration, setting forth penalties of deprivation of liberty, fines and seizure of the profits that would have been unlawfully obtained by individuals.
Specifically, bribery between individuals is typified as a crime committed by those who, exercising a position or function in the private sector, request or accept money or other benefit, for themselves or for a third party, or offer, give or consent to give money or other benefit, as compensation for violating their duties or for refraining from acting in accordance with their duties, in favoring a contract with one offeror over another.
On the other hand, unfair administration is typified as a crime committed by those who, being in charge of the custody or management of all or part of the assets of another person, cause harm to that person, either by abusively exercising powers to dispose of those assets or forcing the disposition of assets, or by acting inappropriately or abstaining from acting in a way manifestly contrary to the interests of the owner of the assets.
In conclusion, in both cases it is possible to perceive that the legislature sought to prevent illicit situations that could trigger, among others, acts of unfair competition or abuse of trust, by punishing those who request or offer a bribe.
In our opinion, this amendment should contribute to greater care and thoroughness in the structuring of prevention and risk control models, as well as in resolving potential conflicts of interest and in defining policies to eradicate influence peddling and any type of corruption.