Ecuador: ¿Es necesario incluir una cláusula de licitud de fondos en los contratos?

Last Updated: 4 September 2018
Article by María Elisa Holmes
Most Read Contributor in Ecuador, September 2018

La única forma de regenerar el mundo es que cada uno cumpla con el deber que le corresponda.

(Charles Kingsley)

Dada la coyuntura política y económica del Ecuador en los últimos cinco años, nos compete hacer un breve análisis sobre los avances jurídicos y legislativos en temas de anti-lavado de activos. La Ley de Prevención de Lavado de Activos y del Financiamiento del Delito está vigente desde julio del año 2016, y como tal, trae ciertas obligaciones y deberes que debemos tener presente en la negociación y suscripción de contratos, así como en las transacciones en general.

La Ley de Prevención de Lavado de Activos y del Financiamiento del Delito, a través de la Unidad de Análisis Financiero Económico, tiene como objeto prevenir, detectar y erradicar los delitos tipificados en el artículo 317 Código Orgánico Integral Penal ("COIP")1, en los cuales se castiga y criminaliza el lavado de activos, así como la financiación de delitos. ¿Pero que es el lavado de activos en el Ecuador?

El lavado de activos es el delito por el cual una persona, en forma directa o indirecta, adquiere, utiliza, convierte, oculta, administra, resguarda, entrega o transmite bienes o dinero que procedan de actividades ilícitas. No vamos a entrar dentro del análisis del bien jurídico protegido, lo cual es materia de otro artículo. Lo que vale resaltar, es el hecho que el Estado a través de esta ley considera que el dinero o bienes que procedan de algún acto ilícito, esto es trafico de drogas, trata de personas, tráfico ilícito de órganos, corrupción administrativa, entre otros, debe ser rastreado y detectado antes de que entre en circulación de la economía del país. Por lo tanto, esta ley es aplicable a cualquier actividad económica2 que sea utilizada para el lavado de activos como para el financiamiento de otros delitos.

Ahora bien, la Ley de Prevención de Lavado de Activos y del Financiamiento del Delito ha impuesto, entre otros, los siguientes deberes a las instituciones de control y regulación3 del Estado:

  1. Informar sobre operaciones o transacciones inusuales4 e injustificadas y por ende sospechosas de personas jurídicas como de personas naturales.
  2. Registrar detalladamente la proveniencia de fondos de todas las operaciones y transacciones individuales cuya cuantía sea igual o mayor a los diez mil dólares de los Estados Unidos de América (US$ 10,000.00)

Por lo tanto, siendo el contrato un mecanismo por el cual los ecuatorianos podemos comprar, vender, u obligarnos con terceros por cuantías superiores a US$ 10,000.00, cabe analizar la importancia de la existencia de una cláusula de licitud de fondos en los mismos.

¿Qué es una cláusula de licitud de fondos? Una cláusula de licitud de fondos no es más que una declaración de que los fondos y/o bienes convenidos en el contrato provienen de operaciones lícitas, y en el caso de no serlo, quien haya incurrido en el delito de lavado de activos exime de responsabilidad a su contraparte contractual. Un ejemplo de una cláusula de licitud de fondos en un contrato de arrendamiento puede ser la siguiente:

"El Arrendatario declara que los fondos con los que realizará los pagos al Arrendador y demás derivados del presente Contrato, tienen un origen lícito y por ende no provienen de actividades ilícitas o contrarias a las buenas costumbres.

El Arrendatario exime al Arrendador, de toda responsabilidad civil, penal, o administrativa si la declaración contenida en esta cláusula fuere falsa.

El Arrendatario autoriza al Arrendador a realizar el análisis pertinente e informar documentalmente a las autoridades competentes, en caso de que fuere necesario. "5

Si bien las entidades de control y supervisión del Estado son las encargadas de reportar transacciones sospechosas o inusuales, también es nuestra responsabilidad como ciudadanos saber con quién contratamos y bajo qué condiciones, por lo tanto debemos tener la debida diligencia de precautelar la procedencia de los fondos en nuestras transacciones. Razón por la cual, debemos propender siempre a incluir una cláusula de licitud de fondos en todos los contratos que se negocien cantidades iguales o mayores al valor de US$ 10,000.00 o que en su conjunto sumen o superen esta cantidad, para asegurarnos de que los fondos o bienes convenidos en la relación contractual provienen de un origen lícito. De ésta manera, al incluir la cláusula de licitud de fondos, eximimos de responsabilidades a quien no comete actos ilícitos, blindando la relación entre las partes al suscribir que se conoce sobre la licitud de fondos.

Finalmente, ésta debe ser una práctica a ser reconocida y practicada por los profesionales del Derecho, así como puesta en conocimiento de los contratantes, para erradicar conductas delictuales y, en el caso de ser necesario generar los descargos correspondiente en cooperación con las entidades del Estado.

Footnotes

1 Art. 317, Código Orgánico Integral Penal

2 Art. 2, Ley de Prevención de Lavado de Activos y del Financiamiento del Delito

3 Art. 4, Ley de Prevención de Lavado de Activos y del Financiamiento del Delito

4 Art. 3, Ley de Prevención de Lavado de Activos y del Financiamiento del Delito

5 El texto es de propiedad de Paz Horowitz Abogados S.A.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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