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The Legal 500 Latin America Round Table Series: San José

Establishing and maintaining compliance capability: the practical challenges.

Undertaken in conjunction with sponsor firm Aguilar Castillo Love, the most recent of The Legal 500’s series of Latin America-focused round table events took place at The Intercontinental Hotel Costa Rica. Assembling a group of leading corporate counsel, the discussion centred on compliance capability and the challenges it presents. The timing could not have been more appropriate given that the issue of corruption has come to the fore in Costa Rica in recent months.

The attendees –including representatives of Cargill, Tigo, Scotiabank, Uber, Cuestamoras, Bayer, TMF Group and Carestream Health, as well as the Costa Rican stock market (BNV), among others– proved to be a sophisticated and disputatious group! Having reviewed Costa Rica’s current scenario, in which both the public and private sectors have recently been tainted with corruption allegations (for example: the Cementazo affair and issues related to the Supreme Court’s Sala Tercera, respectively), in a discussion that also considered the role of the press the, conversation progressed to consider matters ranging from the recognition of the -largely- irrevocable nature of reputational damage, to the risk issues associated with the use of third parties. Consensus opinion reflected the common understanding that, finally: ‘cumplir es más barato’ – compliance is cheaper.

Companies adopting this stance necessarily have a greater interest in the establishment and maintenance of a level playing field in terms of the legal framework in which they are operating – i.e. of judicial security – and therefore positions those multinational entities compliant with far more stringent US and EU regulations at the forefront of good governance, greater transparency and the establishing of competitive and ethical norms for the market. Whether this will extend to the public sector, increasingly visible as a cradle of corruption in various states across the region, remains to be seen. In the interim, it has been notable that in Costa Rica, all political parties have strenuously avoided the issue in the run-up to the country’s 4th February general elections.

Photographs from the event can be found below.

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