Matteson Ellis Comments on Increasing FCPA Cases in Latin America in Latinvex

"Latin America: FCPA Cases Grow"

Latinvex

02.28.2018

Matteson Ellis commented on the increase in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases in Latin America. "In 2018, there will continue to be a demand for attorneys, accountants, compliance professionals and others who work on FCPA/corruption and fraud related matters in Latin America. This is because enforcement efforts related to conduct in Latin America will continue to be robust, and companies will continue to face heightened expectations of corporate compliance," Ellis said. "Another dynamic at play is the adoption of new anti-corruptions laws throughout Latin America and growing engagement by local enforcement officials in the region, trends that have the promise to add fuel to the global enforcement fire," he said. "Finally, we are seeing external auditors of publicly listed companies doing business in Latin America take more conservative approaches to addressing signs of controls issues in connection with fraud and corruption problems. As a condition of endorsing financial statements, they are requiring companies to more thoroughly investigate and address indications of fraud and corruption. Auditing firms fear they could be held liable for failure to adequately address such controls issues. This will lead to more corruption and fraud-related work." U.S. enforcement agencies have also announced plans to prioritize individual enforcement, another factor that suggests FCPA cases in the region will grow, he said, adding that this trend negates concern that the Trump administration's enforcement priorities would shift from those of his predecessor. "It is … important to note that, though there were questions a year ago as to whether the Trump Administration would continue to prioritize FCPA enforcement, all indications now are that previous FCPA enforcement trends will continue In particular, statements by senior [Department of Justice] and [Security and Exchange Commission] officials relating to the statute continue to support robust anti-corruption enforcement, Ellis said. "For example, following similar pronouncements from the DOJ during the first part of 2017, the Chair of the SEC affirmed in early September 2017 that there is not going to be some 'dramatic shift in priorities at the SEC' related to FCPA or other enforcement areas, and made similar statements in a congressional oversight hearing later the same month."