Chile: Law No. 21,121: Amends Rules Relating To Corruption And Other Crimes, Incorporates New Criminal Conducts, And Expands Criminal Liability Of Legal Entities

Last Updated: 2 January 2019
Article by Marcos Ríos and Álvaro Carreño

Law No. 21,121 (the "Law"), which came into force on November 20, 2018, amends the Criminal Code, Law No. 20,393 on Criminal Liability of Legal Entities, and Law No. 19,913 on Money Laundering, in connection with various criminal conducts relating to corruption and conflicts of interest.

The following is a summary of the main aspects of the Law:

1. Domestic Passive and Active Bribery. The Law incorporates the following amendments to the regulation of domestic passive and active bribery:

1.1. What Constitutes a Bribe: Prior to the Law, criminal liability for domestic bribery required that the actual bribe (i.e., the benefit or advantage requested, accepted, offered or delivered) be of an economic or financial nature. The Law has expanded this to include bribes consisting of any kind of advantage or benefit, not only financial or economic.

1.2. Bribery without corrupt intent or quid pro quo: Prior to the Law, the only case where a crime of domestic bribery could be established without proving corrupt intent or quid pro quo was where the bribe requested, accepted, offered or delivered was a greater fee than the one applicable to the position of the relevant public official. This made the occurrence of this crime very unlikely because most public officials—particularly those of higher ranks, such as a ministers, undersecretaries, members of Congress, etc.—are not entitled to receive payments or fees from private parties by reason of their official position. The Law amends this and provides that this criminal offense will be committed by requesting, accepting, offering or delivering any kind of benefit to which the public official is not entitled. Thus, any unlawful advantage or benefit offered to or accepted by a public official may constitute bribery, without the need to prove a corrupt intent or quid pro quo.

2. Bribery of Foreign Public Officials. The Law includes the following amendments to the regulation of bribery of foreign public officials:

2.1. Prior to the Law, this offense only could occur if the relevant unlawful business or advantage sought by the bribe was within the scope of "any international transactions". The Law extends this scope to any type of economic activity carried out abroad.

2.2. The Law provides that this criminal offense is also perpetrated when the bribe is intended to achieve that the foreign public official performs a function or duty that properly belongs to his/her office—e.g., facilitating payments—an element that was not expressly provided prior to the Law.

3. Unlawful Negotiation. Prior to the Law, this offense penalized public officials, judicial experts, arbitrators, liquidators, guardians and curators who acquired a personal or family interest, whether directly or indirectly, in any matters or business in which he/she intervened due to his/her position. The Law substantially amends the regulation of this conduct by: (i) listing certain specific actions that were previously not expressly considered; (ii) incorporating new types of perpetrators, such as insolvency trustees, company liquidators, asset managers or curators of legally unable persons, company board members and managers; (iii) increasing prison time penalties, which are now up to five years (up from three years and one day); and (iv) increasing disgorgement penalties, which currently range from 50 to 100 percent of the value of the undue interest taken in the business (up from ten to fifty percent).

4. New Criminal Offense: Commercial Bribery. This new criminal offense penalizes (i) employees or agents requesting or receiving an economic or other advantage in order to favor or for having favored a certain party over another party for the execution of a contract; and (ii) anyone offering or agreeing to provide such advantage to the relevant employee or agent, with that same intent.

5. New Criminal Offense: Disloyal Management: This new criminal offense penalizes any person's mismanagement of third party assets, resulting in a loss, when performed through or with an abuse of his/her authorities or other actions or omissions that are manifestly contrary to the asset owner's interests. Aggravated penalties for this new crime are provided for managers of assets owned by (i) legally unable persons (e.g., curator of a minor or mentally disabled person), and (ii) listed companies and certain regulated corporations.

6. Increased Penalties, Fines and Statute of Limitations.

6.1. Increased Prison Time and Statute of Limitations. The Law increases prison time for a number of criminal offenses, including bribery and certain fraud crimes. Conducts that were previously assigned simple crime penalties—e.g., bribery of foreign public officials—now are subject to felony prison times, starting at five years and one day. As a consequence of this new minimum prison term, the statute of limitations for these conducts has increased from five to ten years, and convicted persons must serve actual prison time as opposed to solely alternative penalties.

6.2. Increased Fines. The Law increases fines that may be applicable to certain crimes, including bribery and other crimes committed by public officials—e.g., increased disgorgement penalty for unlawful negotiation, as described in section 3(iv) above.

7. New Penalties. The Law incorporates to the Criminal Code: (i) for conducts constituting felonies, the penalties of absolute perpetual and absolute temporary disqualification; and (ii) for conducts constituting simple crimes, the penalty of absolute temporary disqualification. In both cases, this penalty entails the inability to hold positions or jobs, or practice trades or professions, in companies that contract with governmental entities, in State-owned companies, in companies or associations where the State has majority ownership or participation, and in companies that participate in government concessions or are otherwise public utilities.

8.New Common Rules for Offences Committed by Public Officials: The Law incorporates certain new common regulations for crimes committed by public officials, such as: (i) a penalty aggravation for crimes committed by certain high-ranking officials; (ii) the count interruption of the statute of limitations applicable to a crime for as long as the relevant public official holds the relevant office, to avoid impunity due to the passing of time; (iii) special aggravating circumstance if the public official is a member of a group or organization for the commission of the relevant crime; (iv) a two-degree penalty reduction that the court may grant for effective cooperation.

9. Certain Gifts not Constituting Bribes. The Law provides that cases where gifts or donations of an official nature or motivated by protocol, or of minor economic value and customarily accepted as expressions of courtesy and good manners, shall not rise up to active or passive bribery.

10. Criminal Liability of Legal Entities. The Law provides the following main amendments to the regulation of criminal liability of legal entities:

10.1. New Predicate Offenses. The Law adds the following criminal offenses to the list of conducts that may result in criminal liability of legal entities: (i) Unlawful Negotiation (see section 3 above); (ii) Commercial Bribery (see section 4 above); (iii) Disloyal Management (see section 5 above), and (iv) Embezzlement (Art. 470 No. 1 of the Criminal Code).

10.2. Increased Penalties. The Law: (i) provides that the penalty of dissolution of the legal entity may be applied to all crimes potentially resulting in a legal entity's criminal liability, if the relevant legal entity has previously committed an offense of the same kind; (ii) increases applicable fines, including a raise of maximum fines from approximately USD 1.4 million (20,000 UTMs) to approximately USD 21.4 million (300,000 UTMs); and (iii) incorporates the penalties of (x) confiscation of funds that are equivalent to the assets that participated in the criminal conduct, and (y) disgorgement.

11. Increased Money Laundering Liability. The Law expands the predicate offenses that may result in a crime of money laundering, by incorporating disloyal management (see section 5 above) and embezzlement.

You can download Law 21.121 at

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions