Brazil must build on the positive momentum started with its new Corporate Liability Law and its first indictments in one foreign bribery case to investigate and prosecute more proactively foreign bribery. Since Brazil joined the Convention in 2000, of the 14 allegations identified in the report, only five have been investigated and three investigations are still ongoing – a very low number in light of the size of Brazil’s economy.
The OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed its report on Brazil’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, and related instruments. The Group’s Recommendations include:
- that Brazil be more proactive in detecting, investigating and prosecuting foreign bribery;
- urge Brazil to enact the announced Decree implementing the Corporate Liability Law;
- clarify its new Corporate Liability Law, particularly in relation to the procedure to establish liability and impose sanctions, to ensure that the full benefits of the legislation can be reaped;
- follow-up on the broadened arsenal available to the Brazilian authorities to encourage self-reporting and uncover foreign bribery, including cooperative and leniency agreements with individuals and companies;
- continue to encourage companies, including SMEs, to develop and adopt adequate internal controls, ethics, and compliance systems, to prevent and detect foreign bribery;
- adopt comprehensive whistleblower protection for private-sector employees to protect those who report foreign bribery.
The report also highlighted positive aspects of Brazil’s efforts to fight foreign bribery. The new Corporate Liability Law was recognised as a significant step, provided it can be enforced effectively. The Working Group noted that the Brazilian government, and in particular the Office of the Comptroller General, has worked to ensure companies are aware of the new law and to encourage the adoption of compliance programs. Brazil has also increased its co-operation with other countries in its investigations.
The Working Group on Bribery – made up of the 34 OECD member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Latvia, Russia and South Africa – adopted Brazil’s report in its third phase of monitoring implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The Report lists all of the recommendations of the Working Group to Brazil on pages 68-75, and includes an overview of recent enforcement actions and specific legal, policy and institutional features of the Brazil’s framework for fighting foreign bribery. Brazil will submit a written report in six months and one year on progress made in implementing certain key recommendations. As with other Working Group members, Brazil will also submit a written report to the Working Group within two years on steps it has taken to implement the new recommendations. This report will also be made publicly available.