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Hello and welcome to this latest edition of our Regional Bulletin! We open, as usual, with small vignettes from around the region in our News in Brief section. In this section we discuss the relentless advancement of the Odebrecht corruption scandal in the region. This includes ramifications in Ecuador, with the implication of the comptroller general, and Peru, with President Kuczynski under investigation whilst also dealing with worsening political deadlock.
Along these lines, Guatemala’s political class has been rocked by scandal yet again, with a former presidential candidate embroiled in a multi-million dollar corruption scheme involving construction firms while he was a government minister. We also examine the August primary elections in Argentina and Cristina Kirchner’s likely comeback, this time as a senator, as well as provide an update on the FARC’s demobilisation and their transition towards becoming a legitimate player in Colombian politics. In neighbouring Bolivia, we look into the growing activities of Brazilian organised crime, in light of the deadly outcome of a jewellery heist in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Finally, as we go to press, Venezuela appears to advance on its downwards spiral: with the establishment of a constituent assembly pushed through without the assent of the national assembly; renewed arrests of key opposition figures; on-going civil unrest, and; at least one recent rebellion in a military unit that was quashed by forces loyal to the government. Venezuela continues to be one to watch with trepidation.
In our main article, Caio Pizetta Torres examines Brazil’s Anticorruption Law, or Clean Companies Act. This is arguably one of the harshest pieces of anti-bribery and corruption legislation in the world, with stringent liability standards and heavy penalties. For instance, unlike comparable US and UK legislation, the Brazilian law limits the possibility of using the existence of a corporate compliance programme to dodge civil or administrative penalties. Under the Clean Companies Act, the existence of a corporate compliance programme can only be employed to potentially reduce penalties, not eliminate them. The strict legislation, coupled with an evolving and somewhat confusing enforcement environment, means that companies with Brazilian interests are scrambling to establish robust compliance programmes as well as conducting enhanced due diligence on the suppliers, partners and other parties they are in business with.
I hope you enjoy this edition.
Emil de Carvalho