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The National Congress finally approved the Law on Corporate Criminal Liability (the “Law“) for corruption offenses.

Criminal offenses listed by the Law

Legal entities may be sanctioned for the following corruption offenses:
(i) national and transnational bribery and influence peddling, (sections 258 and 258 bis Argentine Criminal Code – “ACC“);
(ii) improper and unlawful transactions of public officials (section 265 ACC);
(iii) illegal exaction committed by a public official (section 268 ACC);
(iv) illicit enrichment of public officials and employees (section 268, subsections 1 and 2 ACC); and
(v) false balance sheets and reports (section 300 bis ACC).

Criminal Liability of the Company

According to the Law, legal entities will be responsible for the offenses above detailed committed with their intervention, or in their name, interest or benefit.
The legal person will not be prosecuted if the individual acted in its exclusive benefit with no profit for the company.
The Law also establishes the responsibility of the companies originated from mergers, acquisitions, or any other reorganization process.

Statute of limitations

The Law provides for a special statute of limitations of 6 years to initiate the criminal action, regardless of the statute of limitations that each above-mentioned offenses establish for the authors and accomplices.


The penalties provided by the Law for legal entities include fines of up to five times the improper benefit obtained; the suspension of commercial activities; special disqualification to participate in public tenders or bids; loss or suspension of governmental subventions, among others.
The penalties will be imposed considering their compliance program; the surveillance omission; amount of money involved; size and economic capacity of the company; and the spontaneous reporting of such offenses as a result of early detection or internal investigation.
If the company complies with (i) spontaneous denounce of the offense, (ii) implementation of an adequate compliance program and (iii) the return of the illegal benefit obtained as a result of the offense, will be exempted of liability and administrative consequences.

Adequate Compliance Program

The Law establishes guidelines for the judge to consider while imposing penalties to the legal entities, such as the level of control and supervision that each company adopted, through implementing an adequate compliance program, which should be prepared considering the specific risks of their commercial activity, their size and economic capacity. Such compliance program should contain, at least, the elements detailed in section 23 of the Law.

Application of the Law

The Law will not be applied retroactively to offenses that occurred prior to its enactment. The ACC would now be applicable to transnational bribery committed abroad by an Argentine citizen and/or legal entities domiciled in the country.

Aggravated penalties for corruption offenses

The Law establishes new additional penalties (fines) for corruption offenses, as incorporates fines from 2 to 5 times the undue benefit obtained.

Promulgation and entry into force

The Law will be effective after 90 days counted as of its publication in the Official Gazette.
Companies should seek the implementation of necessary measures to prevent, detect and alert the authorities about the commission of corruption crimes in their company.


Fernando Goldaracena is a partner in Baker McKenzie 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).


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).


Luis Dates is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Buenos Aires office, where he heads the Dispute Resolution and Public Law practice groups. He has broad experience advising national and foreign companies across a range of public and administrative law issues, particularly doing business with the national government, provinces, municipalities and state-owned enterprises. He also assists and represents clients in complex and multidisciplinary litigation, and is active in domestic and international arbitration. Luis is a mediator and arbitrator for the Private Center of Mediation and Arbitration. He has written books and numerous articles for various legal publications on topics related to his field. He is also a professor at the School of Law of the University of Buenos Aires.