You are currently viewing Business Criminal Law in Guatemala And Its Importance.

This article is addressed to all those Commercial Corporations, whether Corporations or individual companies, that are or have been victims of crimes that affect their assets, such as STEALING, FRAUD, MATERIAL AND IDEOLOGICAL FALSENESS, LAUNDERING OF MONEY AND OTHER ASSETS, THEFT, among others.

According to Theodore S. Greenberg. Linda M. Samuel Windgate Grant, Larissa Gray, in their work "Recovering Stolen Assets" Good Practice Guide for Non-Conviction Asset Forfeiture, it is estimated that:

"The flow across borders of global goods through criminal activities, corruption and tax evasion is estimated at between US$1 trillion and US$1.6 trillion per year.

In addition, the amount of money stolen from developing and transition countries is between US$20 billion and US$40 billion, equivalent to 20-40% of official development assistance flows. The damage resulting from such defrauding includes the degradation and distrust of public institutions, the weakening of the private investment climate, and the corruption of social service delivery mechanisms for basic health and education programs."


Criminality in companies.

In addition to international crime, there are also frequent criminal acts committed between commercial entities (corporations or individual companies), whether legally constituted in the country or "ghost" or "front" companies, with the purpose of committing considerable financial frauds in the private sphere.

Globalization and the ease of starting businesses in this era of Humanity, has also facilitated the commission of criminal acts such as fraud, smuggling, tax evasion, ideological and material falsehoods, fraud, money laundering among other crimes, committed by unscrupulous persons hidden under the cloak of private companies, corporations, organizations and/or non-governmental associations that may be operating normally or even ghost companies, dedicated solely to commit crimes and defraud individuals and even corporations with a considerable economic turn.


Crime Prevention.

Derived from the above context, it is important to have permanent legal advice, i.e. preventive, to investigate, review and approve any legal business that is deemed lawful, prior to any act that may compromise the company and/or individual that will participate in a legal act, enter into contracts, acquire shares of other companies, contribute assets to companies and any other management that compromises the corporate or individual assets.

The legal accompaniment in any negotiation is essential to prevent further legal problems. However, many times individuals, private companies and even large corporations perform legal acts without consulting their trusted law firm and this makes it easier to become a victim of crimes. For which it is important to have experts in criminal matters to accompany companies that are victims of crimes that have affected their assets. As well as the approach of a defense in case of being accused of committing a crime, for facts that are civil and not criminal in nature, in order to present an adequate technical defense.


The importance of criminal actions to recover stolen assets and the object of frauds and crimes affecting patrimony.

When a Corporation has been the victim of a PATRIMONIAL AFFECTION, through the commission of crimes against it, the first step to take is to approach the Lawyer or Lawyers Corporation of trust and make sure to hire specialists in Criminal matters, to initiate the pertinent legal-criminal proceedings, such as the presentation of a CRIMINAL QUERELLA and request an investigation before the Public Ministry or to give continuity to proceedings carried out by colleagues that have not yielded effective results.

The legal steps in criminal matters such as a CRIMINAL QUERELLA tend to have a positive effect, in order to reach viable agreements without the need to substantiate the entire criminal process, through the measures DESJUDICIALIZING, which tend to resolve the conflict without the need to substantiate the entire criminal process and thus reach agreements to ensure dignified reparation in exchange for ending the conflict and thus recover assets effectively, as allowed by the Guatemalan criminal process.

The importance of taking criminal action, causes an effect on the counterpart, who, in most cases, prefers to solve the legal situation in a conciliatory way and thus raise an efficient legal strategy that tends to recover assets of all kinds, with greater efficiency and effectiveness, as long as the criminal strategies suggested by expert lawyers in the field are carried out.


The advantages of conciliatory dispute resolution.

As the trite aphorism that trial lawyers recite indicates: "A bad settlement is worth more than a good trial". Undoubtedly, the best way to resolve a conflict is through conciliation and/or out of court for the following reasons:

  1. Long, tedious and costly processes are avoided.
  2. The counterparty can avoid possible coercive measures such as arrest warrants, being bound to proceedings and having alternative measures such as arraigo, house arrest, account seizures or immobilization of real estate.
  3. Future procedural acts carried out by the Public Prosecutor's Office, such as raids, inspection, search and seizure of assets, can be avoided.
  4. Appear as a Syndicate in the Public Prosecutor's Office Computer System (SICOMP), a document that is sometimes requested by embassies to apply for visas or residency.
  5. The assets subject to litigation are recovered in a faster and more efficient way, since when the possibility of recovering assets is seen, negotiations are initiated to return the asset or assets subject to QUERELLA and the criminal process is terminated, reaching firm agreements between the parties and thus avoiding the loss of the assets subject to litigation, which is an imminent possibility if the entire process is substantiated, because if at the end of the process and the person or corporation accused is bankrupt at that time, the probability of recovering an asset is null, because there are not enough assets.
  6. De-judicialization measures allow the defendant not to face the entire criminal process and this is an incentive to negotiate out of court.
  7. Avoid tarnishing criminal records.
  8. If an agreement is not reached, there are legal means to force the accused to appear at court hearings, and if they fail to do so, coercive measures may be used, such as a request for an arrest warrant, to ensure their presence at the criminal proceedings.
  9. If it is not the desire to negotiate, the Public Prosecutor's Office continues the investigation and the process follows its normal course, which is never convenient for any defendant, if the accompaniment of the lawyers with the victim has been effective and it has been possible to prove the crimes, so that an investigation with sufficient means of proof, may also tend that the lawyers of the counterpart, suggest to the defendant, to return the assets object of commission of crimes.


As explained above, it is clearly important to have effective legal strategies to be able to follow up on these processes, which tend at all times to recover assets in the most effective way and end the processes as soon as possible, because the purpose of these processes is to recover as soon as possible by means of agreements and not to substantiate an entire process.