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Joe Biden during a visit to Mexico in 2013 as US Vice President. As president, Biden is expected to get tough on corruption in Latin America, including Mexico. (Photo: Mexican Government)
Juan Morillo, Quinn Emanuel; Ruti Smithline, Morrison & Foerster and Matteson Ellis, Miller & Chevalier. (Latinvex collage)
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Special Reports

Latin America Corruption: New Boldness From US?

Biden Administration expected to toughen stance on corruption and FCPA.


The new administration of US President Joe Biden is expected to toughen its focus on violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in Latin America, experts say.

“Although the incoming Biden administration has yet to solidify is enforcement priorities, we expect they will include a tougher stance on corporate crime and public corruption than those taken by the Trump administration, with a concomitant prioritization of FCPA enforcement,” says Juan Morillo, Co-Chair of the White Collar and Corporate Investigations Practice at Quinn Emanuel.

Matteson Ellis, a lawyer at Miller & Chevalier and author of The FCPA in Latin America, expects a new boldness in enforcement from the Biden Administration.

“This could include further pursuit of Latin America investigations already underway, for example Pemex-related investigations, and a willingness to build new cases, including those involving COVID-related wrongdoing,” he says.

Pemex is Mexico’s state oil company, which has been the subject of probes by the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Meanwhile, as several Latin American governments are backsliding or slowing down their corruption fight, the US has continued to probe and sanction violations of the FCPA in the region.

“It may be that we will continue to see a slow-down of local enforcement across the region this coming year …but that is not likely to change FCPA enforcement focused on activity across Latin America,” says Ruti Smithline, Co-Chair of the Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense Group and Co-Chair of Latin America Desk at Morrison & Foerster.

More than half (54 percent) of corporate FCPA settlements in 2020 involved...

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Keywords: Brazil, Corruption, Ecuador, FCPA, Mexico, Miller & Chevalier, Ecuador, Morrison & Foerster, PDVSA, Pemex, Quinn Emanuel, SEC, Venezuela




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