Private sector and FBI discuss ethics in Brazilian business

  • 16 February 2018
ICC Brazil FBI Meeting

Billed as an event to “Meet the Enforcers”, an array of United States (US) agents and prosecutors active in tackling corruption and fraud in Brazil descended onto Sao Paulo last week to discuss cooperating in effective anti-corruption strategies with ICC Brazil and local business executives.

Hosted by ICC Brazil, the meeting took place on 6 February. It brought together agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and more than 200 business executives to discuss better compliance policies and international cooperation programmes between the US  and Brazil in fraud, corruption and money laundering crimes.

Also present were Antonio Carlos Vasconcellos Nobrega, a representative from the Brazilian Controller’s Office (CGU), and Leandro Daiello, the former Director General of Brazil’s Federal Police. The event was initiated by ICC Brazil’s Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-Corruption.

“Our mission is to show the effort the Brazilian private sector is making to strengthen compliance practices, helping to re-establish its credibility with the international community. By advancing this dialogue, we seek to reinforce ICC’s fundamental aim of leveraging the resources and expertise of business alongside public actors to drive positive change,” said Gabriel Petrus, ICC Brazil Executive Director.

One of the discussion highlights was testimony of the strong cooperation between Brazilian and American authorities, particularly during recent money laundering investigations.

“It doesn’t get any better than that,” FBI Special Supervisory Agent Leslie Backschies said. “[Our relationship with] Brazil is the model of collaboration for countries fighting financial crimes.”

“This is only the beginning. We have the right framework, the will and the funds to continue working together,” added Ms Backschies.

George “Ren” McEachern—formerly an FBI Supervisory Special Agent and now Managing Director of Exiger—emphasised the responsibility of the private sector in fighting corruption. “The private sector needs to implement rules, adopt better practices and show their investors and partners that it pays off to care about the long-term sustainability of business,” he said.

For companies embroiled in public scandals, the advice is to always work in collaboration with the authorities, being proactive in providing the required information.

“The social demand for higher compliance and integrity levels offers many incentives for individual whistleblowing and enforcement authorities are reaching high capacity for information processing. Any eventual omissions or recurrences are discovered overtime, which results in the definitive loss of any benefits that a company might obtain in a collaboration process,” added the FBI speakers.