• J.D.
    Georgetown University Law Center
    cum laude
  • M.S.
    Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
  • B.A.
    Dartmouth College
Portuguese, Spanish

Matteson Ellis has extensive experience in international anti-corruption compliance and enforcement, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). He is often called upon by companies to conduct independent internal investigations into potential FCPA violations. He has worked on anti-corruption matters in multiple capacities, including prevention, detection, remediation, defense, and enforcement. Mr. Ellis focuses particularly on the Americas, having spent several years in the region working for a Fortune 50 multinational corporation and a government ethics watchdog group. He is multilingual and is a frequent speaker on corruption matters in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and other Latin American markets.

Mr. Ellis has worked with U.S. and non-U.S. companies on all facets of FCPA compliance and enforcement, including legal analysis, internal investigations, third party due diligence, transactional due diligence, anti-corruption policy drafting, bilingual compliance training, compliance audits, corruption risk assessments, voluntary disclosures to the U.S. government, and resolutions with the U.S. government. He has performed complex, independent, and on-site internal investigations in over 30 countries throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa. In Chambers Latin America, he is described as "one of the best compliance lawyers I have ever worked with, not just for his knowledge of the field, but also his accuracy and decisiveness in implementing compliance matters in complicated markets."

Mr. Ellis has also investigated fraud and corruption and supported administrative sanctions and debarment proceedings for The World Bank and The Inter-American Development Bank. Mr. Ellis is ranked in Band 1 of Chambers Global and Chambers Latin America 2021, was selected as a "Rising Star" in Ethisphere Institute's Attorneys Who Matter, and was named one of Latin America's top 100 lawyers by Latinvex, which recognized him as "the leading expert on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Latin America." According to Chambers, he "is totally focused on Latin America," and clients say, "he is exceptional; we hold him in very high esteem." He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and numerous other publications on topics related to his areas of practice.

  • Represented a $38 billion global private equity firm focused on oil and gas and alternative energy sectors in FCPA investigations and compliance matters since 2012. The engagement has included assisting the firm with mapping the portfolio according to corruption risk and implementing anti-corruption compliance oversight strategies for these companies, including internal investigations and compliance audits. We work directly with many portfolio companies to conduct third party due diligence, acquisition due diligence, bilingual trainings, compliance program enhancements, and compliance audits of venture partners. 
  • Successfully represented a Latin America-based multinational corporation (the largest company in its country) in three corruption internal investigations, performing most of the work in Spanish, each investigation involving interactions with U.S. regulatory authorities and the external auditor, with no FCPA enforcement action taken.
  • Served as core outside investigative counsel for a global construction company following its parent company's multi-billion-dollar global settlement for foreign bribery, assisting the company in handling sensitive issues throughout the region, utilizing Portuguese and Spanish fluency, and coordinating with the company's Independent Compliance Monitors in the United States and Brazil.
  • Represented a corporate executive in connection with an FCPA investigation involving the South American operations of a global mining company.
  • Supported a Latin America-based mining company (the largest exporter in its country) with two internal investigations into allegations of improper dealings with local communities, and assisted the company with devising compliance remediation strategies, conducting most of the work in Spanish.  
  • Counseled five companies awarded oil and gas exploration and infrastructure development blocks in Mexico's historic energy sector opening on the development of anti-corruption compliance programs tailored to Mexico risks.
  • Retained by an Am Law 100 firm to serve as an expert witness on an FCPA matter in an international arbitration based in Europe. 
  • Successfully represented an energy services company in a World Bank sanctions proceeding, convincing the World Bank Sanctions Board to apply a non-public Letter of Reprimand instead of public debarment recommended by the Integrity Vice Presidency.
  • Represented the chief executive officer of a multinational engineering company in a regulatory investigation involving multiple jurisdictions.
  • Retained by the Inter-American Development Bank to provide guidance to the Argentine government on integrity guidelines in a national roads construction project.
  • Retained by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime to advise the Colombian government on the design and implementation of its anti-corruption compliance standards and guidance pursuant to the country's 2016 Transnational Bribery Law and trained local enforcement authorities to assess companies' compliance efforts.
  • Chambers Global: Corporate Investigations (Latin America-wide), 2015 - 2021
  • Chambers Latin America: Corporate Crime & Investigations (International Counsel), 2015 - 2022
  • Latinvex: Latin America's Top 100 Lawyers, 2014 - 2021
  • Legal 500 Latin America: International Firms: Compliance and Investigations, Leading Lawyer, 2021 - 2022
  • Legal 500: Dispute Resolution: Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2019 - 2020
  • Legal 500: Dispute Resolution: International Trade, 2019 - 2021
  • Ethisphere Institute's Attorneys Who Matter (Rising Stars), 2015
  • Ethisphere Institute's Attorneys Who Matter (Specialists - Private Practice), 2014
  • Global Investigations Review: 40 Under 40, 2014
  • Who's Who Legal: Investigations - Future Leaders: Partners, 2018 - 2020
  • Who's Who Legal: Investigations, 2014 - 2015, 2021
  • DC Bar Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2017 - 2019
  • Co-Founder and Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus, The School for Ethics and Global Leadership, Washington, DC
Bar Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Texas

Despite Latin America's anti-corruption progress over the last decade, including blockbuster investigations, high-powered politicians and business leaders behind bars, and improved laws in key juri


In this blog post, Matteson Ellis and Leah Moushey analyze the local terms used to describe bribery throughout Latin America as a whole and in 18 individual countries, as identified in Miller &