Mexican congress approves law opening bank records to investigators |

Mexican congress approves law opening bank records to investigators

MEXICO CITY – The lower house of Mexico’s Congress approved a bill on Wednesday to open banking records for investigations by electoral authorities and feedral comptrollers, a measure that would remove a traditional stumbling block to corruption and other probes.At present, prosecutors and tax authorities are often allowed either direct or indirect access to records of bank accounts and transactions when investigating crimes. But the issue of whether other regulatory agencies have the same access has been the object of debate.The bill passed Wednesday by a unanimous vote with 5 abstentions would give the Federal Electoral Institute and the federal comptroller’s office the same powers as the Attorney General’s Office and the Treasury Department to access such records.The measure was approved by the Senate in September.Mexico’s banking secrets law was designed to protect individuals’ privacy, but it became a political issue following the financial crisis of 1995, when failing banks were rescued with billions of dollars in taxpayer money.The banking secrets law stymied lawmakers’ efforts at that time to review the use of those bailout funds.The bill states that the regulatory agencies may use the information only for investigative purposes, and not make it public.Vail, Colorado

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