On August 1, 2013, the Clean Company Act (Law 12,846) was enacted by the Brazil National Congress to fill a legal gap in the country’s anti-corruption enforcement power compared with laws like the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act, and standards set by the OECD anti-bribery convention. Ten years later, Brazilian corporates now face strict liability for legal entities involved in acts against public administration, including foreign authorities.
From the point of view of prevention, the implementation of increasingly robust compliance programs reaffirms that countless companies from the most varied sectors have stopped doing business at any cost. The equation of these costs versus the benefits – or the losses experienced with applying Law 12,846 – is entirely different today.
In addition to heavy fines and other sanctions that can put the company’s very existence at risk, the corporate world has embraced ESG, putting the focus on corporate governance and social responsibility.
Among the multitude of domestic anti-corruption operations launched in the last ten years, Operation Car Wash was an essential milestone. It represents the fight against endemic corruption of national public companies and is an example of how Brazilian democracy is solid and thriving.
Additionally, the introduction of leniency agreements (added to Law 12,846 during the discussions of PL 6828/2010) allowed for dozens settlements at the federal level. On the Brazilian Office of the Comptroller General’s website, there have been 25 published agreements that total $3.8 billion (BRL 18.3 billion).
If we include enforcement actions whereBrazil’s the Anti-Corruption Law is applied, the number of successfully negotiated leniency agreements could be in the hundreds.
The level of anti-corruption maturity Brazil has reached is impressive and deserves recognition and celebration. The first ten years of the Clean Company Act show that the next ten years contain the potential for rapid change as we enter the next era of Brazil’s anti-corruption efforts.