The Department of Justice on Friday announced it has created a tip line to assist its Anticorruption Task Force in fighting corruption in three key Central American countries.
The development is the latest in response to a President Joe Biden executive order in February aimed at managing migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The creation of the tip line means that now “anyone with information about corrupt actors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who are violating U.S. laws or moving proceeds of their crimes in or through the United States may now report the conduct in Spanish or English,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in a press release.
The Justice Department’s Anticorruption Task Force was established in June to “enhance U.S. enforcement efforts against the most prolific and dangerous human smuggling and trafficking groups operating in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.”
The task force includes representatives from each of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Unit of the Fraud Section, the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, and the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section.
Tips regarding possible corruption or movements of ill-gotten funds will be reviewed by the task force. “The task force will determine whether the tip indicates a possible jurisdictional link to the United States—including use of the U.S. financial system—that would allow the task force to investigate, to prosecute, and, where appropriate, to forfeit and return stolen assets to the people of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras,” the Justice Department said.
Compliance message: Anti-corruption enforcement in Central America clearly is a priority for the Biden administration. Thus, legal experts advise prudent compliance departments with companies operating in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries should pay attention to the increased focus by, and enhanced resources available for, U.S. enforcement agencies. They should also consider prioritizing risk assessments, anti-corruption training, and other proactive compliance measures specific to the impacted region.