The United States has made anti-corruption a priority, strengthening laws to expand the investigative capacity of its authorities worldwide. This should be a wake-up call for companies, especially in Latin America, where corruption levels have risen with the pandemic.
To address this issue, BH Compliance and the law firm Greenberg Traurig held this Thursday, June 24, the webinar “Update on FCPA and corruption cases, for companies doing business in LatAm“.
Daniel Pulecio-Boek, Shareholder of Greenberg Traurig, referred to the modification -in December 2020- of US corruption control laws, which expand the investigative capacity, allowing US authorities to access all banking information of any natural or legal person in the world investigated as a person of interest, witness or target. In this regard, he highlighted the role of compliance programs, since having an effective and correctly implemented one can make the difference in the type of investigation and the defense of the company.
It should be noted that the anti-corruption fight in the United States has an important focus in Latin America. In this regard, Hugo Lopez Coll, Shareholder of Greenberg Traurig, explained the memorandum recently sent by President Biden, in which he defines corruption as a national security interest, giving a period of 200 days to the offices and agencies of State to send recommendations and strengthen prevention, which includes a strengthening of laws such as the Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). This will allow for better coordination both locally and globally, emphasizing that extraterritorial enforcement will be a growing trend.
Susana Sierra, CEO of BH Compliance, made a brief analysis of the global context, where there is an economic crisis, social inequality, internal conflicts, proliferation of authoritarian and/or populist governments, crisis of confidence, increase in drug trafficking and organized crime, in addition to the advance of disinformation and fake news, which leaves fertile ground for corruption. For the same reason, he pointed out that more than ever compliance programs should be seen as a contribution in the fight against corruption and not just compliance with the law, which should be more urgent with the strengthening of laws in the United States. In this regard, he cited examples of companies sanctioned for not having adequate anti-corruption controls globally.
Finally, Ramón Montero, Legal and Compliance Manager of BH Compliance, presented the main failures in 15 cases of companies sanctioned under the FCPA, including payments to suppliers without contracts, erroneous accounts, lack of training, training and monitoring of contracts in human resources, failures in financial controls, in subsidiary companies, among others.
In addition, Montero, delivered the measures to correct for a correct prevention, among which are the commitment of directors; review and update policies; design internal policies for employees and external collaborators on issues such as gifts, travel, donations and sponsorships, etc.; conduct periodic training for the most exposed workers and certify them; establish a channel for complaints; issue a code of compliance to prevent and detect non-compliance with the FCPA; conduct periodic controls and tests to measure the effectiveness of the compliance program.
The webinar concluded with answers to questions from the virtual attendees by the presenters.
June 24, 2021