The Miller & Chevalier 2020 Latin American Corruption Survey

Thomas Fox

Compliance Evangelist

This week on the FCPA Compliance Report, I will have a special five-part podcast series taking a deep dive into the Miller & Chevalier Chartered 2020 Latin American Corruption Survey. I will visit with firm lawyers James Tillen, Matt Ellis, Alejandra Almonte and Greg Bates. Miller & Chevalier and 14 partner firms have tracked perspectives on anti-corruption issues in the region since 2008. It is the most comprehensive survey on the perception of corruption in Latin America.

This year, 54 percent of survey respondents said corruption is a significant obstacle to doing business – up 10 percent since 2012 – while only 45 percent of respondents believe offenders are likely to be prosecuted, down from 66 percent in 2008. Despite Latin America’s anti-corruption progress over the last decade this new survey data reveals corruption risk to be at an all-time high across the region.

In Episode 1, I visit with James Tillen on the Survey’s findings on region-wide corruption risks and region-wide perceptions of corruption and effectiveness of local anti-corruption laws. Miller has been tracking views of corruption risk in the region since 2008 so we consider how do businesspeople perceive corruption risk in this Survey vs. prior years. We look at the significance, if any, that risk has gone up at the same time that enforcement has gone up in the region over the last 10. We conclude with that areas of government in the region are seen as most corrupt and least corrupt?

In Episode 2, I visit with Matt Ellis on some findings of the Survey’s on country specific corruption issues. For instance, what countries in the region are seen as most corrupt? What were some of the most surprising country-specific findings and what does the data say about Brazil? Obviously, Mexico is a focus right now given the various investigations surrounding Pemex, what does the data say about Mexico corruption risk? Finally, are there any countries buck the trend of more perceived corruption risk?

In Episode 3, I visit with Alejandra Almonte and we explore some of the Survey’s high-level findings on compliance trends in the Latin American region. We consider what were some of the key high-level findings about corruption and anti-corruption compliance programs in the region. We ask what trends does the Survey show are emerging on implementation of compliance programming in Latin America? We conclude by exploring where does the FCPA stand in the region and what does the continued importance of the FCPA mean for compliance programs in the Latin American Region?

In Episode 4, I visit with Greg Bates and we explore some of the Survey’s data on compliance program design and implementation. For instance, what does the Survey data mean for in-house compliance officers and what trends does the Survey indicate vis-à-vis compliance program data? Are there other efforts to manage bribery and corruption risks are seen in the Survey data?  Finally we use the data to look into the crystal ball, by considering how COVID-19 will impact compliance programming in the region?

In concluding Episode 5, I am joined by James Tillen and Matt Ellis to take a retrospective look back over the 12 years of Miller & Chevalier’s Latin American Corruption Survey. We consider the highlights of each Survey from 2008 forward; 2012, 2016 and this year’s 2020. Both Tillen and Ellis have been working in Latin America during this time frame and they share their observations on how compliance programs have advanced. We consider how this information can be used by a compliance professional to help graft a more region or even country specific anti-corruption compliance program in 2020.

For more information on the Miller & Chevalier Chartered 2020 Latin American Corruption Survey, click here. The Survey is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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