Latin America Screening News | August 2019

MEXICO

The Mexican Ministry of Public Administration has introduced a “Business Integrity Registry” to serve as the basis for certifying those companies that comply with their fiscal, contractual, ethical and corporate governance obligations.

According to the Ministry, 91% of Mexicans say that corruption is a common occurrence in their daily lives, and corruption has been perceived by 82% of those in the business environment. Corruption costs both business and the public at-large some 8.8 billion pesos annually. According to estimates from both INEGI (Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography) and international organizations, the impact of corruption on Mexico´s economy is equivalent to 10 percent of GDP.

This month the Ministry introduced a plan for “alerts against corruption”, through which an anti-corruption technology platform is being launched. This will make it easier for citizens to report serious acts of corruption, human rights violations, or harassment involving federal public servants.

BRAZIL

U.S. companies are reinforcing awareness of internal control measures against corruption in their subsidiaries in Latin America, following the case of Walmart – Brazil, which has been fined 137 million dollars for violations of the FCPA.

“Walmart profited from rapid international expansion, but in doing so, chose not to take necessary steps to avoid corruption” according to Assistant U.S. Attorney General Brian Bencausqui. The fine that Walmart Brazil will have to pay has once again raised the alarm about compliance with anti-corruption measures by U.S. companies with operations abroad.

In the Walmart case, it was found that executives were aware of weakness in their internal controls and failed to implement sufficient controls to comply with U.S. criminal laws.

COLOMBIA

The Colombian Superintendent of Industry and Commerce (SIC) has sanctioned telecommunication companies DirecTV, Comcel S.A (Claro) and Avantel for breaking data protection laws.

Penalties for the three companies totaled $864 million Colombian Pesos. Avantel and Claro were fined for consulting their customers’ credit histories without prior consent, thereby violating the country’s Habeas Data Law.

DirectTV was fined for sending customer information to a third party, in violation of Data Protection Law 1581.

Local regulations on data protection have been strengthened in Latin America in recent years. On more than four occasions, the Colombian SIC ordered the sanctioned companies to adopt security measures in order to prevent inquiries for purposes other than calculating credit risk, as provided under the law.

Following the fines, the SIC demanded that the three companies strengthen security measures and controls to protect their 36 million customers.