Argentina court keeps country’s enforcement efforts on track

James Thomas and Ines Kagubare

12 January 2021

A 2020 ruling by Argentina’s top criminal court reaffirming the constitutionality of its cooperating defendant law has prevented the derailment of the country’s biggest corruption case and the stifling of its financial crime enforcement.

In a ruling on 30 November, the National Federal Superior Court declared that a 2016 law granting companies and individuals lighter penalties in exchange for cooperation, locally known as the repentance law, is valid as it gives prosecutors the necessary tools to achieve “optimum results” in their investigation and pursuit of corruption.

By a two-to-one majority, the court’s three-judge panel rejected arguments from various Argentine officials implicated in the high-profile Notebooks bribery scandal, or Caso Cuadernos in Spanish, stating that the defendants had failed to show how the legislation violated their constitutional rights.

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