Global sanctions guide

  1. Does Mexico have a sanctions regime in place? 

Yes. Pursuant to Article 133 of the Constitution of Mexico, international treaties are part of Mexican law. Mexico has signed and ratified numerous international treaties about international legal cooperation on criminal matters, among them: the UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1998; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention) 2000; the Inter-American Convention against Corruption of 1996; and the Forty recommendations of the International Finance Action Group (“GAFI”) 1990.

  1. Does Mexico implement UN sanctions? 

Yes. As a member of the UN, Mexico must apply and follow UN resolutions.

  1. Does Mexico implement an autonomous sanctions regime? 

Yes. However, to the extent that Mexico implements autonomous sanctions, these are domestic measures only.

For example, Mexico has implemented the Federal Criminal Code (Código Penal Federal) on security matters. Specifically, terrorist activity affecting Mexico’s security is regulated by Articles 139 to 148. The consequence of breaching those articles is usually imprisonment, although economic penalties are available.

Additionally, Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) provisions intended to indirectly combat terrorism financing are in full force and effect. Breach of these AML provision can lead to both administrative sanctions and criminal sanctions.

Mexico also has the Federal Law against the Organized Crime, which governs the investigation, prosecution, sanction and penalties for crimes committed by organised crime members, including terrorist financing. The consequence for breach of these provisions is almost always imprisonment.

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

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

The most frequently applied measures are:

  • The Federal Criminal Code provides that a prison sentence of between 15 and 40 years, and the corresponding 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 and sanctioned individuals and entities committing a crime.

Finally, Mexico refers to the lists maintained by the US’s Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for investigation processes.

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions? 


  1. Does Mexico have a licensing or authorisation 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 and any  accomplices, 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, from economic fines to 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 licence 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 licence, 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 organisation 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
F: (+52) 3686-5582

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