Miller & Chevalier Latin America Survey Finds Corruption Remains Significant Obstacle

A Latin America Corruption Survey conducted by US law firm Miller & Chevalier and six Latin American law firms indicates that corruption continues to be a widespread and costly problem for businesses in the region. Miller & Chevalier’s Homer Moyer stated that “Respondents to our survey see corruption as a significant obstacle for their businesses. More than half believe they have lost business to competitors who have made illicit payments.”

In September, Miller & Chevalier and Brigard & Urrutia (Colombia), Claro y Cia. (Chile), Demarest & Almeida (Brazil), Estudio Beccar Varela (Argentina), Rodrigo, Elías & Medrano Abogados (Peru) and Rubio Villegas y Asociados, S.C. (Mexico), distributed the survey (in Portuguese, Spanish, and English) via e-mail to executives at a broad cross-section of small and large regional and multinational companies. The survey was completed by 201 respondents who provided opinions on the prevalence of corruption in different regions and branches of government, punishment for offenses and anti-corruption laws.

Notable findings of the survey include:

  • 48% of respondents say corruption is a significant obstacle to doing business.
  • 35% of respondents do not think a company, individual, or government official will be punished for making or receiving illicit payments related to obtaining business.
  • Just 18% of respondents think anti-corruption laws are effective in the country where they work.
  • Of the 53% of respondents who are clearly subject to the FCPA – because they are based in the U.S., publicly listed in the U.S., or work for a U.S. multi-national company – 30% did not recognize that they are covered by the law.
  • Despite the low opinion of the effectiveness of anti-corruption laws in the region, or possibly because of it, many companies (77%) say they have taken actions to protect themselves from corruption risk.
  • 55% of respondents believe that dealing with corruption risks is a top priority of their companies, with 66% believing that the importance of preventing corruption has increased for their companies over the last five years.

Read the Miller & Chevalier announcement (via Douglas N. Jacobson of International Trade Law News)