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Use of Illegally Obtained Resources in Mexico

By: Terry Ahtziry Cardenas Banda, corporate attorney, internationalist, law professor, social activist, and philanthropist.

In Mexico, the regulation of the use of resources of illicit origin is quite new and its interpretations are diverse, however, what is a reality is that to the extent that we create greater foreign alliances and standardize criteria, the more need there is for understand and apply the rules related to illegal acts or operations. Despite not being a topic that we all have extensive knowledge of, the reality is that we are obliged to know about it to avoid falling into a situation that violates said provisions.

The crime of money laundering is a crime defined in our Federal Criminal Code in its article 400 Bis. The twenty-third title of said Code regulates the crimes of concealment and operations with resources of illicit origin, particularly Chapter II is which provides for operations with resources of illicit origin, a topic of which we are addressing. Our legislators added this aforementioned chapter to our criminal code in 1996, in which article 400 Bis establishes a penalty of five to fifteen years in prison and a fine of one thousand to five thousand days for anyone who, by himself or through an intermediary, carries out any of the behaviors listed in the same article in the second section, especially, is where the crime of money laundering is classified, which reads as follows:

Conceal, conceal, or attempt to conceal or conceal the nature, origin, location, destination, movement, ownership, or ownership of resources, rights, or goods, when you are aware that they come from or represent the product of an illicit activity.

Likewise, it defines that the products of an illicit activity are understood to be: resources, rights, or assets of any nature when there are well-founded indications or certainty that they come directly or indirectly, or represent the profits derived from the commission of a crime. and its legitimate origin cannot be proven.

According to the provisions of our criminal code, the crime of laundering is defined as that crime consisting of hiding the illicit origin of goods and resources obtained from illegal activities, the keyword extracted from the cited article is THAT THEY HAVE KNOWLEDGE, so the person who hides the illicit origin knowing that it was obtained through the commission of a crime violates this rule, coupled with the fact that the launderer must introduce the money into the financial system, which could be when he has the cash knowing that it comes from illegal activities.

The Federal Law for the Prevention and Identification of Operations with Resources of Illicit Origin (hereinafter “law”) is a fairly new law that was introduced into our legal system on October 17, 2012, to date it is still being worked on to correct its application and recognition, since its publication to date it has only had two reforms, one in 2018 and one recently in 2021, in both of which articles were added, in the last one some articles were also repealed.

The main objective of the aforementioned law is to protect our financial system and the national economy, through the establishment of measures and procedures to prevent and detect acts or operations that involve resources of illicit origin, through inter-institutional coordination, whose purposes are to collect useful elements to investigate and prosecute the crimes of operations with resources of illicit origin, the financial structures of criminal organizations and avoid the use of resources for their financing.

The reality in Mexico is that the introduction of this regulation is due to the demands of its international relations, as well as its obligations under different treaties that Mexico has signed and ratified, such as the USMCA.

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