2013 was a crucial year for Mexico. With the return to power of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), through the election of President Enrique Peña Nieto, a series of profound reforms were enacted in a number of sectors including telecommunications, energy, education and labour. There were also considerable political reforms, all of which were pushed through via the Pact for Mexico (Pacto por México), a political agreement between the three most important political parties in the country to expedite the issuing and approval of the required reforms. The aim of the reforms was to modernise and promote Mexico as an optimal destination for international investment. Two years since then, the everyday application of some of these reforms has yet to be determined, but a key topic all of the reforms share has proven to be a bigger challenge than expected - corruption.
Until April 2015, aside from the Criminal Code Mexico only had a couple of laws addressing corruption; one concerned public procurement and the other governed the administrative liabilities of public servants. In addition, a lack of adequate public prosecution, little or no compliance with legal formalisms, and the considerable amount of investigative work required for the integration of a corruption case, resulted in very few successful investigations, let alone indictments.
The scenario for the private sector, particularly following the investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) into Wal-Mart's activities in Mexico, based on the extraterritorial capabilities of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, changed rather vigorously. Companies doing business in Mexico understood that they needed to react quickly and efficiently to implement anti-corruption policies of their own to regulate their national and international activities. The fear of an international investigation derived from the FCPA or the UK Bribery Act translated into enhanced auditing between business partners, which in itself resulted in a business culture more oriented toward transparency and ethical standards, aiming to minimise corruption. Notwithstanding, these changes arose mainly from international corporate politics, rather than national laws.
In 2013, as a consequence of a series of international commitments, in particular with multilateral bodies such as the FATF-GAFI and the OECD, Congress passed a national Anti-Money Laundering Legislation which targets specific 'high-risk' commercial...