Brazil's Clean Company Law came into force at the start of this year, allowing for the punishment of companies practising corrupt acts against domestic or foreign public officials. The law is Brazil's answer to the FCPA and UK Bribery Act, and has been described as more far-reaching. It was rushed in after a wave of protests over corruption erupted across the country and should create deep changes in the local business environment.
A group of prominent full-service law firms prepared for the legislation in advance, assembling cross-disciplinary teams from a range of practice areas including antitrust, administrative and criminal law, and are now helping Brazilian companies adjust to the new scenario. A smaller number of firms were ahead of the game, investing in the area well ahead of the new law.
Veirano Advogados may have only made anti-corruption and compliance a serious area of focus last year, but it has quickly established a reputation for itself, helped by hiring the prominent Luiz Navarro, former deputy head of the government's anti-corruption agency. The Brasilia-based Navarro is a rare example of a Brazilian lawyer with long experience in the field. The firm subsequently hired a second anti-corruption partner, André Fonseca: a criminal lawyer who spends half his time on the area, with two disputes and antitrust partners contributing a similar amount of their time. The firm is currently assisting in investigations over potential acts of bribery for companies in the oil and gas, life sciences, finance and chemical industries, and structuring compliance programmes and training for various clients.
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