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The National Congress has extended the benefits for whistleblowers to crimes against the public administration (corruption and fraud against public administration), customs criminal offenses and economic and financial crimes.

The new section 41 ter of the Argentine Criminal Code (“ACC”) establishes the reduction of penalty to any person who provides reliable information or accurate and credible data, useful to (i) prevent or stop any of the offenses mentioned above, (ii) disclose the identity or whereabouts of other participants of these offenses and/or (iii) assist in the clarification of the facts under investigation.

While the benefits for whistleblowers were already regulated for investigations related to drug trafficking, terrorism, human trafficking and money laundering, among others, since the enactment of this law (the law has not been yet published at the Public Gazzette), any accused individual who provides useful information for corruption investigations may be benefited with the reduction of one-third of the maximum and half of the minimum sanction for the relevant crime.

Although these benefits could raise some practical issues in their implementation for customs crimes (section 42 ACC), the benefits for the whistleblower in investigations of crimes against public administration, such as cases of corruption and fraudulent administration of public funds, represents an innovative tool with high impact on ongoing investigations.

Additionally, it should be mentioned that the law specifically precludes total exemption from punishment to whistle-blowers and establishes the procedure according to which the whistleblower must reach an agreement with the prosecutor before the oral trial stage, to assure the implementation of the abovementioned benefits.

Author

Vanina Caniza is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Buenos Aires office. She advises clients in a variety of corporate and commercial law matters, with extensive experience in corporate compliance, commercial agreements and mergers & acquisitions. She represents and advises Argentine and foreign companies. She completed postgraduate courses on Biotechnology at Universidad Torcuato di Tella (Buenos Aires) and on Health Law at Universidad de Buenos Aires. She sits on the Steering Committee of the Firm’s Latin America Corporate Compliance Group and on the Steering Committee of the Firm’s Latin America Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Industry Group. She is currently a professor in the CEC Compliance & Ethics Certification (AAEC-UCEMA).

Author

Fernando Goldaracena is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Buenos Aires Office. He heads the White Collar Crime Practice Group and is a member of the Compliance & Investigations Practice Group. Prior to joining the Firm, Fernando served as secretary of the Federal Criminal Court No. 2 of San Isidro, where he led several criminal investigations ranging from white collar crimes, public corruption and tax fraud. He is member of both the Compliance & Money Laundering and the Criminal Law Practice Groups of the City of Buenos Aires Bar Association (Colegio de Abogados de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires).