Compliance and Investigations Newsletter no2 – March 2022

The Compliance and Investigations Newsletter provides information on the main news, trends, cases and legislation related to this segment, in Brazil and abroad. This material is for informational purposes and should not be used for decision making. Specific legal advice can be provided by one of our lawyers.

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Compliance and Investigations Team

 


DOJ Releases Opinion Affirming Extortion and Duress Exemptions from FCPA

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an opinion affirming that there may be no enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) when companies are responding to possible extortion and duress. The DOJ originally issued a preliminary opinion just one day after a request by a company alleging that its vessel had been intercepted by Country A’s naval forces, that the vessel’s crew were prevented from leaving it and that the captain of the vessel had been arrested.  In the request sent to the DOJ, the requesting company also stated that an intermediary for Country A’s naval forces had requested the payment of USD 175,000.00 in cash in order to release the captain, crew and vessel.

In its preliminary and, later, final opinion, the DOJ reinforced that, given the specificities of the case, it would not bring enforcement action under the FCPA in the case that the company made the payment, given that, based on the information provided, the proposed payment would not be made with corrupt intent and the primary reason for such payment was to avoid imminent and potentially serious harm to the captain and the crew of the vessel. The DOJ also stated that, based on the information provided, the payment was not motivated by an intent to obtain or retain business, since the requesting company has no ongoing or anticipated business with Country A.

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Public authorities investigate irregularities in highway construction in Paraná.

On February 10, 2022, as reported by the Brazilian Federal Office of the Comptroller General (CGU), Operation Rolo Compressor was carried out, in partnership with the Federal Police (PF) and the Federal Revenue Office (RFB). The purpose was to investigate irregularities in the application of public funds by the National Department of Transport Infrastructure (DNIT) in the state of Paraná, in addition to acts of corruption and money laundering. One of the contracts investigated is related to the duplication of work on a stretch of Highway BR-163/PR, which has an updated value of over BRL 700 million, and that according to the CGU’s audit report, was possibly overpriced and overbilled in the amount BRL 60 million.

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STF closes investigations involving Renan Calheiros, Jader Barbalho and Arthur Lira, due to lack of evidence

On February 11, 2022, the collegiate body of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court (STF) unanimously decided to close the investigation against senators Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL) and Jader Barbalho (MDB-PA) and rejected a complaint against the Chairman of the House of Representatives, Arthur Lira (PP-AL). According to the rapporteur of the case, Justice Edson Fachin, the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Brazil (PGR) did not demonstrate just cause for the continuation of investigations or evidence of the involvement of the investigated individuals in alleged irregularities in the construction of the Belo Monte (PA) power plant.

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On February 23, 2022, the Office of the Comptroller General participated in an award ceremony in Brasília for the Mais Integridade Seal 2021/2022 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply.

According to the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU), agribusiness companies and cooperatives were awarded the Mais Integridade (“More Integrity”, in English) Seal 2021/2022 from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) for adopting integrity practices focused on social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and ethics. The seal is awarded after an evaluation by a Management Committee, which includes the participation of a CGU legal representative.

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