Matteson Ellis focuses on international corporate compliance and investigations, in particular in Latin America. He specializes in matters involving anti-corruption/U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the intersection of business and human rights, ESG stakeholder engagement, workplace conduct violations, World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank fraud and corruption investigations and sanctions/debarment proceedings, and corporate ethics inquiries. Mr. Ellis is often called upon by companies to lead independent internal investigations into potential violations of U.S. law and international norms and standards. As a multilingual attorney, he has performed complex and on-sight investigations in over 30 countries throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa. As a recognized regional specialist, he regularly advises governments in Latin America on design of their corporate ethics laws and compliance standards.
Mr. Ellis works 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 performs human rights risk assessments and designs related policies for multinational corporations pursuant to the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and other international norms. He investigates harassment, discrimination, and workplace conduct allegations. Mr. Ellis worked as a Litigation Specialist and investigator at the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank and currently defends companies in Multilateral Development Bank/World Bank investigations. 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 founded Miller & Chevalier's Latin America practice, recognized consistently for the last several years by Chambers Global as a Band 1 global leader in corporate crime and investigations in the region. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and spent several years in the region working for a Fortune 50 multinational corporation and a government ethics watchdog group. Mr. Ellis is ranked in Band 1 of Chambers Global and Chambers Latin America 2022, 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." 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 Crime & Investigations (Latin America-International Counsel), 2015 - 2023
- Chambers Global: Brazil Corporate Crime & Investigations (International Firms), 2023
- Chambers Latin America: Corporate Crime & Investigations (International Counsel), 2015 - 2024
- Chambers USA: FCPA (Nationwide), 2022 - 2023
- Latinvex: Latin America's Top 100 Lawyers, 2014 - 2023
- Legal 500 Latin America: International Firms: Compliance and Investigations, Leading Lawyer, 2021 - 2023
- Legal 500: Dispute Resolution: Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2019 - 2020
- Legal 500: Dispute Resolution: International Trade, 2019 - 2022
- The Best Lawyers in America®: International Trade and Finance Law, 2024
- 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 - 2022
- 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
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York