Draft Bill – Corporate Criminal Liability
Last 15 June 2017, Criminal Legislation and General Legislation committees of the Argentine Congress (the Committees) issued an opinion with amendments to the draft bill on corporate criminal liability introduced by the Executive Power (the Draft Bill).
Among the proposed amendments, Section 37 of the Draft Bill allows for administrative collaboration agreements to be executed for events taking place prior to the enactment of the law. The Draft Bill further provides that the Executive Branch may (i) ratify its acts and administrative contracts and (ii) waive its legal actions to nullify those acts and contracts or impose penalties. If the Draft Bill wording proposed is finally enacted as Law, Section 37 will benefit legal entities with criminal investigations ongoing, that from legal or practical standpoint would not have possibilities to agree with the Public Administration to avoid certain consequences for alleged criminal offenses, such as the annulment of agreements with it.
Section 37 would also allow retroactive application of the law. Therefore, if enacted as proposed, the Public Administration could ratify administrative contracts, even if they were executed prior to the enactment of the law.
The recommendations made by the Committees would encourage legal entities currently under investigation for corruption offenses to collaborate with those investigations, so as to speed up ongoing investigations to eventually punish the responsible individuals.
Other amendments proposed by the Committees are: (i) the reduction of the minimum fine to 0.5% of the legal entities' annual gross income of the year prior to the alleged offense, and (ii) the lack of liability of the legal entity for the offenses committed by their suppliers, contractors, agents and distributors.