Global sanctions guide

  1. Does Mexico have a sanctions regime in place? 

Yes. Pursuant to article 133 of the Political Mexican Constitution international treaties are part of Mexican Law.

Mexico has also signed and ratified numerous international treaties relating to international legal cooperation on criminal matters including: the UN Convention against the illicit traffic of drugs and psychotropic substances of 1998; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention) of 2000; the Inter-American Convention against Corruption of 1996; and the Forty Recommendations of the International Finance Action Group (“GAFI”) of 1990.

Additionally, as a member of the UN Mexico is obliged to adhere to sanctions which are imposed by the UN on international security. Mexico has also been a non-permanent member of the UNSC on a number of occasions (1946, 1980-1981, 2002-2003, and 2009-2010).

  1. Does Mexico implement UN sanctions? 

Yes, as a member of the UN, Mexico is obliged to apply and follow UN resolutions.

  1. Does Mexico implement an autonomous sanctions regime? 

Mexico follows the provisions of the Federal Criminal Code (Código Penal Federal) on security matters, specifically articles 139 to 148, regulating terrorism activity affecting the country’s security. Sanctions against the breach of the aforementioned articles are mostly penalized with prison, in spite of the applicable economic penalties.

Additionally, Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) provisions intended to indirectly combat terrorism financing are in full force and effect. The sanctions imposed by these provisions are both administrative sanctions and criminal sanctions.

Mexico also has the Federal Law against Organized Crime, which has the object of setting out the rules for the investigation, prosecution, sanction and execution of penalties for crimes committed by an organized crime member, including terrorist financing. In mostly all cases criminal acts contravening the aforementioned dispositions are penalized with a prison sentence.

  1. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Mexico? 

In general terms, the nature of the offences are criminal, and penalized under criminal dispositions.

The most frequently applied measures are:

  • the Federal Criminal Code provides that a prison sentence of between fifteen and forty years, and the correspondent economic penalty, shall be imposed upon those who attempt to or do
    finance terrorism, both national and international
  • in connection with organised crime, sanctions are very severe from prison to goods assurance
  • in connection with the breach of AML provisions, sanctions range from economic fines to disqualification of the public servant
  • arms embargoes
  • bans on exporting equipment that might be used for internal repression
  • export controls
  • asset freezes and financial sanctions on designated individuals and corporate entities
  • travel bans on named individuals
  • bans on imports of raw materials or goods from the sanctions target
  1. Does Mexico maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities? 

The UIF (Finance Intelligence Unit), part of the tax ministry in Mexico, maintains a list containing the sanctioned individuals and entities that have breached AML provisions.

The General Attorney of the Republic (“PGR”) also maintains a list of the most wanted persons, sanctioned individuals and entities who have committed a crime.

Mexico also refers to the lists maintained by the US’s Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions? 


  1. Does Mexico have a licensing or authorization system in place? 

The Export Control Organisation may issue specific licences in relation to the export of strategic or controlled goods that are subject to sanction and embargo regimes.

  1. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Mexico? 

The penalties for breaching sanctions can vary depending on the regulatory regime. Faults involving any criminal activity, such as financing terrorism, are sanctioned under criminal dispositions with imprisonment for both the criminal entity and its accomplice, if any, regardless of the economic fines that might be imposed.

In relation to AML, entities acting in breach of financial provisions can also be subject to sanctions which can vary from economic fines to the disqualification of public servants, including public notaries.

It is also a criminal offence to export strategic or controlled goods that are subject to sanction and embargo regimes without a specific license issued by the Export Control Organisation. The export of some goods is banned outright. Penalties can vary depending on the nature of the offence. They include: revocation of a license; seizure of goods; issuing of a compound penalty fine; and imprisonment.

Any individual found guilty of an offence under the Federal Criminal Code for dealings with a terrorist organization is liable on conviction to imprisonment for up to 40 years, regardless of the economic fine.

  1. Who are the relevant regulators in Mexico and what are their contact details?

The Foreign Ministry is responsible for international relations regarding security.

Plaza Juárez #20
Colonia Centro
Del. Cuauhtémoc
Distrito Federal
CP 06010

T: (+52) 3686-5100

The Finance Intelligence Unit of the Tax Ministry is responsible for Anti-Money Laundering detection and sanction.

Avenida Constituyentes #1001
Planta Baja
Colonia Belén de las Flores
Delegación Álvaro Obregón
Distrito Federal
CP 01110

The General Attorney of the Republic is responsible for criminal prosecution.

Avenida Paseo de la Reforma #211-213
Colonia Cuauhtémoc
Delegación Cuauhtémoc
Distrito Federal
CP 06500

T: (+52) 5346-0000

Contributor law firm

Daniel Del Río, Rodolfo Barreda and Fernando González, Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C. Paseo de los Tamarindos 400-A 9° Piso Bosques de Las Lomas, México D.F.

T: (+52) 55 5261 0432
F: (+52) 55 5261 0496