There have been significant changes to Mexican law recently that have provided prosecutors updated and enhanced tools to combat corruption. In May 2015, the Mexican Congress and the states approved a constitutional amendment that created the National Anti-Corruption System, which was put into full force and effect in 2017. This supplemented and broadened the already existing anti-corruption laws in Mexico’s public procurement process. Now individuals and legal entities can be criminally liable for bribery of public officials in Mexico. In November 2014, Mexico City passed modifications to the criminal code making bribery an offense that can be committed by both individuals and legal entities and created an innovative approach to calculating penalties against companies. However, even though laws have changed, much remains to be done. The OECD noted that Mexico has fully implemented very few of the recommendations that it has made to eradicate corruption. Mexico still had no prosecutions or convictions for foreign bribery. Corruption is still common in Mexico, with the widespread use of “gestores” or intermediaries to navigate the bureaucracies responsible for issuing licenses and permits, shell companies owned by family members of government officials seeking a bribe, fictitious service providers, and improper gifting and excessive hospitality to employees of state-owned entities. With the new Lopez Obrador Administration’s anti-corruption plan, further changes are anticipated in public procurement by the creation of a central mechanism to manage and monitor public contracts to achieve greater transparency. The new administration has also committed to creating an autonomous Special Prosecutor’s Office to independently investigate and prosecute corruption cases and to implement additional restrictions on entertainment and gifts provided to public officials.
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