Compliance Spain: new training needs

Written by Murray Grainger on Wednesday July 15, 2015

Transparency International’s Global Graft Report reports that "corruption is everywhere in Spain". Their latest Corruption Perception Index has Spain sitting in lowly 37th spot. The Q4 political scandal season didn't even make the print deadline for the 2014 GGR. For example, the Health Minister was sacked in November 2014 after being named as a “profit-seeking participant” in connection with the Gürtel corruption case. This was a case implicating various politicians in accusations of bribery, money laundering and tax evasion. The allegations related to party funding and the awarding of public works contracts by various regional governments including Madrid itself. The estimated cost to the public finances? Over €120 million at the last count. 

According to El País, Spain’s government delayed corruption reform on 27 separate occasions, and on 41 occasions it delayed reform to the Penal Code. All this led TI to label the situation here in Spain “overwhelming”.

Four years after the United Kingdom implemented the Bribery Act, Spain's long awaited Penal Code reform took effect on 1st July 2015. This reform raises the Compliance bar for all Spanish companies.

As I commented in my LinkedIn Post 'Compliance: Spain looks ahead', all Spanish companies must now have Compliance Programmes and Compliance Officers.

The reformed Penal Code absolves companies from liability for misconduct provided the directors have implemented a corporate programme and ensured that it has been supervised appropriately.

Training becomes essential, as does proper record-keeping, which of course is already seen as vital in other jurisdictions. Risk assessments, standards and controls, whistleblowing systems, disciplinary sanctions (consequential management) and continuous improvement through regular reviews: all this is now required.

These new requirements are closely aligned with 'Adequate Procedures' under the UKBA and 'Effective Ethics & Compliance Programs' under the US Federal Sentencing Guidelines. International best practices are therefore firmly in sight.

The Compliance Officer can be the general manager or owner in the case of SMEs. For "large companies" the Compliance Officer must be a person independent of the management team. With 24,000 companies falling into the latter category, we are poised for dramatic impact on Compliance in Spain.

This could represent a unique opportunity for Spanish companies to become a beacon for best practice internationally. Spain has a golden opportunity to shine a leading light for Compliance throughout Europe, across to Latin America and onto the global stage.

With this in mind, the ICA has launched the ICA International Diploma in Anti Money Laundering for the first time in Spain in partnership with International Compliance Training (ICT) andImpact on Integrity España (IOI España). The graduate-level International Diploma is the pre-eminent qualification for people working in money laundering prevention all over the world and can now be studied in Spanish by professionals in Madrid.

Other ICA international qualifications in compliance will be offered in Spain in 2016.

Those interested can find out more about the Diploma and the benefits this qualification brings at the Briefing Session in Madrid on 24th September 2015. To register for the event and for any information on enrolment, please email, call +34 917 94 27 01 or

One IOI España Scholarship is available for the ICA International Diploma in Anti Money Laundering in Spanish. For more details, please visit

If you’re interested in an ICA qualification, view all courses in AML, governance, risk and compliance and financial crime prevention here. You can find out more about all our courses at a free ICA briefing session, find out more here.

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