The compliance, white-collar crime and investigations segment has become big business for international law firms in Latin America. With the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other enforcement agencies investigating alleged corruption, fraud and other crimes, there is a steadily increasing demand for legal advice from top international firms. Investigations and cases brought under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) have grown enormously in recent years. For businesses that operate in the region, there is a growing emphasis on protecting against financial and reputational damage caused by corruption, fraud, money laundering and other crimes. And with a developing regional and international compliance regime, law firms are frequently brought in to establish internal programmes and/or to identify potential violations so that they can be dealt with and reported where necessary.
Compliance and investigations in Latin America: International firms
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a global leader in investigations, representing both corporates and individuals. A healthy portion of this practice centres on Latin America, where the firm has built an impressive body of work in internal investigations and those brought by Latin American and US authorities, regulators and prosecutors. It has an impressive range of anti-corruption and compliance engagements in multiple Latin American jurisdictions. The Latin America-focused team represents a range of Latin American corporates, multinationals, financial sponsors, and executives and individuals. Andrew Levine is a leading figure in white-collar and regulatory defence and internal investigations throughout the region. Washington DC partners Kara Brockmeyer and David O’Neil are noted for FCPA investigations; and Bruce Yannett, chair of the white-collar and regulatory defence group, brings further senior-level gravitas to the team. Rising star associate Daniel Aun moved in house at Alphabet but otherwise the firm has been recruiting strongly, adding five counsel over the last 18 months (from the SEC’s Enforcement division, the Consumer Finance Bureau and the Treasury’s Terrorism and Finance Intelligence Unit, among other bodies), along with March-2022 partner-hire from the SEC’s Examinations division, Kristin Snyder. Named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
‘Debevoise is one of the best, or the best US law firm I have worked with. They have a depth of experience as well as a hands-on approach.’
‘Andrew Levine was incredibly knowledgeable. Always available and great to work with.’
‘Commitment, administratively robust processes for the collection of their billing, the partners are involved in detail in any matter until it is concluded and the expected result is given.’
‘Experience, accompaniment and the trust they generate in the business. They give peace of mind to the organisation as clients of the legal firm.’
‘Leading team in internal investigations and compliance in the USA, with extensive experience in LatAm, led by Andrew Levine and Kara Brockmeyer. They have an excellent ability to simplify and manage the most complex cases and situations in an efficient and clear manner.’
‘Andrew Levine and Kara Brockmeyer have an excellent ability to simplify and manage the most complex cases and situations in an efficient and clear manner.’
‘Very experienced and accustomed to representing Brazilian clients in enforcement matters in the US, particularly before the DOJ.’
‘Andrew Levine is the team’s star in Brazil/LatAm. He’s incredibly active, has broad expertise, and is very good at building relationships and following up on them. Other key members include David O’Neil.’
Marcelo Odebrecht and Emilio Odebrecht
Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan (OTPP)
- Advised Marcelo Odebrecht and Emilio Odebrecht as owners and controlling family members of the company at the centre of the Lava Jato investigation, which resulted in one of the largest FCPA resolutions in history.
- Advised Keppel Offshore & Marine in connection with alleged bribery payments totalling some $55m made by a subsidiary to Brazilian officials, successfully resolving all legal challenges.
- Advised Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan on anti-corruption due diligence connected to its $3bn investment in Evoltz, an electricity transmission platform in Brazil.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s world-leading white-collar defence and investigations practice has an extensive record in Latin America. It is widely noted for its FCPA and anti-corruption expertise, and its frequent engagements in relation to M&A and investment-related investigations. Somewhat unusually, it has successfully leveraged the expertise from multiple US offices and its well-established Sao Paulo office where co-chair of the Latin America group Lisa Alfaro is a key member of the white-collar defence and investigations team. Washington DC partner Joseph Warin is co-chair of the practice and has an outstanding record in DOJ and SEC investigations in Latin America. Los Angeles partner Michael Farhang is also highly-rated for DOJ and SEC investigations in the region.
Stephanie Brooker; Nicola Hanna; Joseph Warin; Joel Cohen; Charles Stevens
Kaleil Isaza Tuzman
- Represented UK Companies, Amec Foster Wheeler Energy (AFWEL) and Amec Foster Wheeler (AFWL), in SEC and DOJ FCPA-related investigations relating to alleged bribery scheme involving Brazilian officials in connection with a $190 million Brazilian government contract.
- Secured the dismissal with prejudice of a putative securities class-action brought by Banco Safra in the Southern District of New York against Brazilian iron-ore mining giant, Vale.
Miller & Chevalier Chartered
Miller & Chevalier Chartered has operated in the Latin America corporate crime and investigations sphere for over a decade. It has become an established name in anti-corruption and enforcement activity. The team features more than 20 practitioners that have extensive experience in Latin America, many of whom speak Portuguese or Spanish. Team members cover anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, sanctions, governance and many related areas; Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru are amongst its primary markets. FCPA, anti-corruption and fraud investigations are central to the practice, which has experienced further growth in anti-money laundering compliance and human rights investigations. Matteson Ellis has an outstanding record in anti-corruption investigations in Latin America. James Tillen is also highly rated, and Alejandra Montenegro Almonte has played a pivotal role in developing the group’s practice in Central America. Jeffrey Lehtman and William Barry are also key individuals, while Gregory Bates is an emerging talent having been promoted to the senior ranks in January 2022. Leah Moushey impresses at associate level. Since research concluded, the team has been boosted with the July-2022 hire of former Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP counsel, arbitration and anti-corruption specialist Margarita Sánchez as a partner.
‘Miller & Chevalier is a market-leading firm for compliance matters and internal investigations in Latin America. They are able to operate with a deep understanding of the local landscape and work closely with local counsel while providing clear advice from a US perspective.‘
‘Matteson Ellis is a reference for FCPA enforcement in Latin America. Jeffrey Lehtman has participated in several high profile compliance matters in Argentina, and knows the market very well.‘
- Advised on the indictment of Daisy Rafoi, a Swiss National and private wealth advisor who was arrested in Italy on an international arrest warrant issued by the US related to corruption and money laundering issues in Venezuela.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's market leading Latin America practice and its growing commitment to compliance, investigations and anti-corruption work, continues to land it a range of big-ticket engagements. Notably, the firm has strong connections to state-owned businesses and mining and resources corporates, of which many have been the subject of investigations by domestic Latin American or US authorities. The team is also active in investment, M&A and IPO-related investigations, along with investigations into ESG practices and cybercrime. Despite a slowdown in investigations by Latin America authorities, the firm is especially active in Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and United States Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations. Lisa Vicens is a recognised specialist in Latin America investigations, while Jonathan Kolodner is a white-collar criminal enforcement and regulatory lawyer with a fine record in the region. Both are based in New York. Breon Peace left the firm in October 2021 to become US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Jonathan Kolodner; Lisa Vicens
‘The Cleary team is really big and the office offers a great service, because it’s always available with a multilingual and multidisciplinary team.‘
‘The team has extensive expertise working in Brazil and Latin America in general, and is familiar with the enforcement environment. The presence in the region (Cleary has offices in Brazil and Argentina) sets them apart.’
‘Lisa Vicens seems to be the more active partner. She has language skills, a great sense of risks, and is sensitive to clients’ demands. John Kolodner is another key person in the practice, with prior government expertise.’
‘Cleary’s anti-corruption practice stands out primarily because it provides services around the world, with 17 offices on different continents. Its main objective is to help companies foster a culture of compliance and integrity. The investigations carried out have a multidisciplinary approach. In recent years Cleary has carried out important investigations in anti-corruption, fraud, money laundering, among others. It is always an honour to collaborate with this firm, their dedication and attention to detail allow rigorous investigations to be carried out.’
‘The lawyers who work in the anti-corruption and compliance practice at Cleary stand out for their dedication and commitment to their clients.‘
Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras)
Special Committee of the Board of Directors of GOL
- Advised Vale on an SEC investigation into securities disclosures related to the company’s dam safety in the wake of the 2019 Brumadinho dam collapse in Brazil.
- Advised Brazil’s largest discount airline, GOL, in connection with investigations by Brazilian and US authorities into alleged bribes to senior Brazilian officials arising out of Brazil’s Lava Jato anti-bribery scandal.
- Advised Citibanamex on an industry-wide investigation brought by two Mexican regulatory authorities into alleged collusion and market manipulation.
Covington & Burling LLP
Covington & Burling LLP has an established anti-corruption and investigations practice in Latin America. The team has a fine record in representing multinationals and multilatinas on compliance and anti-corruption matters, including allegations of FCPA violations and anti-corruption due diligence related to M&A and other transactions. It has a history of big-ticket engagements in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and other large economies. Promoted to partner in October 2022, Veronica Yepez leads the firm’s Latin America anti-corruption and investigations practice. Firm vice-chairman Lanny Breuer is hugely experienced in major investigations and has acted in a number of cases in Brazil, Colombia and other Latin American jurisdictions. Donald Ridings heads the global anti-corruption practice group and has also handled investigations linked to alleged FCPA violations, M&A due diligence and risk assessments in Latin America. All named individuals are based in Washington DC.
Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Tecnoglass
Liberty Latin America
- Advised a Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Tecnoglass, a NASDAQ-listed Colombian company, on analysing a short seller report.
- Provided anti-corruption due diligence advice to Liberty Latin America (LLA) in connection with a number of transactions across the Latin America region.
- Represented a Brazilian company under investigation by the World Bank Group Sanctions System involving allegations that it engaged in prohibited practices in connection with World Bank-funded projects.
Jones Day’s substantial team, spread across multiple US offices and its Mexico City office, has an extensive record in many Latin America jurisdictions. The firm has a thriving practice in anti-corruption, money laundering, fraud and environmental crime. It is also noted for anti-corruption, anti money laundering, and fraud due diligence connected to cross-border M&A transactions. New York partner Eric Snyder is an experienced figure in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, where he has represented clients in a number of FCPA violation allegations and in connection with the Lavo Jato investigation. Cristina Pérez Soto is the head of litigation in the Miami office, and is experienced in government and regulatory investigations in Latin America, along with internal investigations linked to corruption and fraud allegations. Guillermo Larrea is a key name in Mexico City; and Brian Rabbitt has joined the Washington DC office, having previously served as Acting Assistant Attorney General at the DOJ’s Criminal Division. Emmanuel Ubiñas left the firm for an in-house position in August 2021.
Theodore Chung; Cristina Pérez Soto
‘They have a deep knowledge of our – Brazilian – market in the investigations space, especially when in the hands of parner Eric Snyder, and they have deep cross-border experience in Brazil-US, representing both corporates and individuals, which gives them a more complete level of understanding of legal issues for multi-jurisdictional matters.’
‘Eric Snyder is the key partner to our market and area.’
‘Jones Day is responsive – no matter when I call, even if it is a holiday, they provide immediate assistance. They have great depth of knowledge across Latin America. They are my “go-to” firm. They work very well with outside counsel. I have used them in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil. They also have great language capabilities with lawyers and paralegals who speak Spanish, Portuguese, and English, so conducting interviews and reviewing documents is simple. I truly appreciate that Jones Day has an office in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It really makes many things easier.’
‘Eric Snyder is fantastic. I recommend him to my peers at other multi-national companies. He is very responsive, knowledgeable, pragmatic, practical, and really knows how to address a wide variety of issues. He is also always available to travel anywhere in Latin America I need him to go.’
- Advised Grupo Proeza on a full anticorruption program, anti-money laundering program, and a cybersecurity and personal data protection program for its operations in 24 cities across North and South America, and Asia.
White & Case LLP has a highly developed Latin America practice, featuring a sizeable cohort of white-collar crime and investigations specialists. This central team includes a number of native Spanish speakers. The group frequently represents clients in connection with FCPA violation and accounting fraud allegations, among other big-ticket matters, and has deep experience in engaging with the DOJ and SEC. It has handled some of the biggest corruption cases ever seen in the Latin America region. Michael Garcia is unique in having an accounting degree, making him especially well-equipped in accounting fraud investigations, while he also has a fine record in FCPA violation allegations, particularly in Brazil and Mexico. Maria Beguiristain is another experienced Latin America specialist with a particular focus on Ecuador and Central America. New York partner Virginia Chavez Romano and Mexico City’s Enrique Espejel are also key names. Named individuals are based in Miami unless stated otherwise.
‘Very rigorous and strategically accompany the client. Build a relationship of trust.’
‘Maria Beguiristain is a very rigorous, attentive and knowledgeable partner of all compliance trends.’
‘They are very present in Latam. They work a lot with listed companies and SEC angles.’
‘Michael Garcia is the main name for me. He is very clear and straightforward.’
- Represented Brazilian meat-processing company, JBS, in its implementation of a global compliance program, related to a leniency agreement executed by JBS’s parent company following a high profile corruption investigation involving the former president of Brazil.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP's established Latin America group has provided the foundations for a thriving white-collar defence and investigations practice in the region. Teams in New York and Washington DC now represent a range of big corporates, financial institutions and individuals in relation to FCPA, anti-money laundering (including FCPA accounting provisions' matters) and crypto-sector enforcement cases. The group is especially active in Brazil and is achieving further growth in Colombia and Ecuador. Washington DC partner Daniel Kahn rejoined the firm in October 2021 from the DOJ, where he served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division and was previously head of the fraud section and FCPA unit; during that time Kahn dealt with a volume of matters in Latin America. New York partner Tatiana Martins is a Brazil native and Portuguese speaker, who has extensive experience in FCPA and anti-corruption cases. New York’s Greg Andres is co-head of the white-collar defence and investigations team and also has a strong focus on Latin America.
- Represented Colombia’s largest financial conglomerate, Grupo Aval, in connection with investigations by US (SEC and DOJ) and Colombian governmental authorities, into allegations of corruption relating to a Colombian highway construction project.
- Represented an insurance company in an internal investigation relating to allegations of political corruption, procurement fraud and collusion in Latin America.
- Represented the Latin American branch of a multinational retail corporation in an internal investigation of foreign corruption allegations.
Diaz Reus International Law Firm & Alliance has a highly developed white-collar litigation practice, focused on obtaining declination decisions or pre-indictment resolutions in criminal investigations by the US Attorney’s Office (Miami), the DOJ and other law enforcement agencies. The Latin America white-collar team represents a range of US and non-US individuals in connection with allegations of corruption, money laundering, and violations of OFAC sanctions. The firm retains a strong emphasis on Venezuela, although it has a developing presence in other key Latin America markets, particularly Mexico and Central America; its expanding Houston office, which is home to Greg Ahlgren and other senior practitioners, is pivotal to its growth in Mexico-related engagements. Michael Diaz has an outstanding reputation, along with fellow senior name Robert Targ. Marta Colomar-Garcia is a recognised anti-money laundering specialist and Javier Coronado was promoted to the partnership in 2021 and transferred to the Miami office from Bogota. The firm has further expanded its capabilities with the hire of former FBI special agents Rick Simpson and Alexander Morales; Simpson most recently served as supervisor of the FBI’s FCPA corruption/kleptocracy unit in Miami, and the pair join other senior investigators such as Mitch Horne. All named individuals are based in Miami, except where stated otherwise.
Michael Diaz; Robert Targ
‘From the outset Michael Diaz assembled an incredible and talented team of attorneys and managers for my case. Each of the team members were not highly experienced but their diversified backgrounds matched the requirements of my complicated case. Their services, research, legal analysis has been remarkable. I’ve worked with several top tier law firms and Diaz Reus is a cut above.’
‘Mitch Horn through his thorough investigations and research was able to identify key intelligence that no other professional investigator was able to previously determine.‘
‘Excellent communication and coordination between team members. Vast knowledge of the subject. Available 24/7. Immediate response. Exceptional attention.’
‘Deeply committed to their work, they have a great knowledge of the subject, they are always available and they do it with quality and warmth. Michael Diaz and Marta Colomar-Garcia.’
‘They are extremely professional; they completely understand the legal procedures and the best routes to be followed to achieve the appropriate solution to the demands. Their performance is excellent. Their strength is in their attorneys’ knowledge, professionalism, and the administrative staff. They manage clients’ relationships, establish confidence to understand the problems and focus on the best solution. A fair cost/benefit.’
‘I worked with Michael Diaz and Robert Targ. Both have impressed me, they have different skills, and together they did excellent work in my cases. They’re highly trained and experienced lawyers with exceptional analytical ability; they go directly to the important points of problems, have great bargaining power, thorough knowledge of the laws and the paths to be followed to find the solution to the problem.’
‘Excellent legal and cultural knowledge.’
Plus Ultra Lineas Aereas
Javier Mejia Bernal
- Represented Alejandro Andrade, the former Treasurer of Venezuela, soon to be released from a 10-year prison sentence, in defence of the US government’s efforts to secure and forfeit assets and monies from third parties as part of the largest FCPA case in South Florida history.
- Acted for Plus Ultra and its majority shareholder Rodolfo Reyes, which are under investigation for $25m in money laundering charges related to the foreign currency exchange controls in Venezuela.
- Represented Guatemalan congressman Felipe Alejos who was sanctioned by OFAC under the Global Magnitsky Act.
Kobre & Kim
Kobre & Kim is unique among international firms in having a Sao Paulo office with a strong emphasis on white-collar criminal and government enforcement cases. The Sao Paulo group has a steady flow of cross-border cases and investigations. The firm is best known for representing individuals, executives and former government officials. Sao Paulo partner Martin De Luca is the only former US federal prosecutor, who is based in Latin America. Gabriela Ruiz is also known for cross-border investigations, including cases involving dual proceedings in the US and Latin America. Evelyn Sheehan and Adriana Riviere-Badell are experienced figures in FCPA, anti-corruption and money laundering cases involving the region. Sao Paulo associate Carolina Leung also impresses. Named individuals are based in Miami unless stated otherwise.
Martin De Luca; Gabriela Ruiz
‘Kobre & Kim distinguishes itself as a boutique that addresses very specific issues related to controversies. One of the main advantages is that the firm deals with specific cases and not clients, so they are free of conflicts of interest. The practice has formed a team specialised in compliance and investigations with an international presence in the indicated cities.’
‘The team focused on handling investigation and compliance cases in Latin America is coordinated by 3 female partners, Evelyn Sheehan, Gabriela Ruiz and Adriana Riviere-Badell. They all demonstrate a high level of knowledge and experience in the areas of compliance and investigations, they all speak Spanish fluently and this allows them to understand and function naturally when dealing with cases in the region.’
‘Kobre & Kim might be considered a small firm by US standards, but they have, in my opinion, the most qualified and prepared team to deal with vompliance & investigations with whom I have ever worked. I have already worked with plenty of US law firms in FCPA related matters and Kobre is, by far, the one that delivers the most. One other thing that really differentiates them from competitors is their capabilities to render services in Latin America. They have several professionals not just fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, but also used to the culture of each of the countries in which they have to work.’
‘Martin De Luca, for sure. He is responsible for the recently opened offices in São Paulo and is a professional deeply involved in the matters of our joint clients. He also thinks out of the box and always reaches me with suggestions of products to be offered to the Brazilian martket.’
‘I like so much Martin De Luca, the partner from disputes and litigation. He is always engaged and efficient in delivering legal products and he is efficient in delivering legal products.’
‘Martin De Luca is a tremendous resource in Latin America. He is based now in Brazil, but has experience in the US as a former prosecutor and white collar defence lawyer. This makes it easy to refer matters to him that involve US legal issues. He can advise LATAM based employees on US legal matters and be a key partner on sensitive cross border issues.‘
‘Evelyn Sheehan, Gabriela Ruiz, and Martin De Luca are the three key names to me at their Latin America investigations group. Carolina Leung is also a coming name. All of them are good lawyers with a good level of knowledge and experience in cross-border investigations work Brazil-US.’
‘They are proactive, knowledgeable and highly connected internationally. They have very good professional instincts in the field they are dedicated to.’
Atvos Agroindustrial (Odebrecht Group)
A leading Brazilian financial institution
- Advising a former official of the Venezuelan Ministry of Oil regarding a criminal prosecution led by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) alleging misconduct in furtherance of the creation and employment of money laundering mechanisms involving billions of US-dollar in funds from Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
- Advised eight executives of a US company who were under investigation by US and Brazilian authorities for corruption practices taking place in Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.
Paul Hastings LLP's well established Latin America practice has provided the foundations for a growing investigations and white-collar defence practice in the region. The team is particularly noted for representing multinationals and multi-latinas in FCPA investigations, with group members frequently engaging with the DOJ and SEC in headline matters. Bryan Parr is a fluent Portuguese and Spanish speaker with an impressive record in investigations and white-collar defence in Brazil and other Latin American jurisdictions; this includes a number of FCPA investigations. John Darden is also noted for FCPA investigations in Latin America. Robert Luskin and Corinne Lammers provide further senior-level expertise on Latin America cases. All named partners are based in Washington DC.
‘The Paul Hastings team is not only extremely good at what they do (e.g. investigations), but their responsiveness to the clients’ needs, the inclusiveness and amazing team-player attitude (together with their forensic accountant teams), and ability to help the client navigate the complexities of each of the different situations, are what sets them (miles) apart from other law firms.‘
‘Jay Darden and Bryan Parr. Amazing client / stakeholder management, fantastic team players (not just within Paul Hastings, but also together with their forensic accounting teams) and great ability to distil a complex situation into something that the client can manage effectively.‘
Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM)
Technip Brasil Engenharia – Instalações e Apoio Marítimo
Airbus SE and Airbus Group
Centrais Elétricas de Minas Gerais (CEMIG)
- Advised Chile-based SQM regarding its 2017 resolution with DOJ and SEC concerning allegations of improper payments to politically exposed persons and the failure to maintain internal accounting controls.
- Acted for Alexion Pharmaceuticals in its life sciences FCPA case before the DOJ and SEC, and supported the company’s enhancements to its global ABAC/FCPA compliance programme.
- Represented Airbus Group before the DOJ in connection with investigations into an alleged worldwide scheme of unlawful payments to foreign officials to assist in the sale of civilian aircraft and failures to disclose relevant commissions on sales of controlled technology; various investigations involved allegedly problematic conduct in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has a highly-developed Latin America investigations, government enforcement and white-collar criminal defence practice. The wider team features a number of former senior government officials and experienced trial attorneys. The group is active in FCPA compliance programmes and major anti-corruption cases, including engagement with the DOJ and SEC. Brazil, Colombia and Mexico are key markets for the Latin America focused group. Colombia native Juan Morillo is co-chair of the white collar and corporate investigations practice, and is a genuine Latin America compliance and investigations specialist. William Burck co-chairs the team and is also active in Latin America cases. Both are based in Washington DC. Former Washington DC-based of counsel Margarita Sánchez left the firm in July 2022.
Juan Morillo; William Burck
Alonso Ancira Elizondo
Johan von Der Goltz
Roberto Jenkins de Landa, et al.
- Represented Trafigura in connection with allegations that a former executive, Mariano Marcondes Ferraz, was involved in bribery and money laundering relating to Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras).
- Represented Oro Negro and its foreign shareholders in multiple cross-border disputes, arising from Oro Negro’s bankruptcy.
- Represented a large consortium of plaintiffs, comprised of a bank, investment funds, and shipping companies, including in Latin America, Asia, Europe and the US, in a billion-dollar lawsuit regarding the largest financial fraud in the history of Latin America.
Ropes & Gray LLP is a growing force in Latin America white-collar crime, government enforcement and anti-corruption matters. It routinely handles a high volume of government investigations, internal investigations, compliance and sanctions engagements, and due diligence across the region. Many within the team have experience of holding senior positions in key agencies, either as federal prosecutors at the DOJ and US Attorney’s offices, or as SEC enforcement lawyers. María González Calvet is a native Spanish-speaker with an extensive record in Latin America anti-corruption risks and enforcement. Alexandre Rene is also rated for white-collar criminal prosecutions and compliance engagements. Chicago and Washington DC based Ryan Rohlfsen is a former federal prosecutor with the DOJ and a senior name in anti-corruption and FCPA investigations. Ama Adams is another key team member. All named individuals are based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise. Colleen Conry has retired.
María González Calvet
‘They are a highly specialised team in internal investigations, always seeking the best result for the client. The difference with other firms is that they know exactly what to do in different situations, especially crisis situations, and they have all the resources to do so.’
‘The seriousness with which they carry out their work, very assertive, and the security they transmit, along with a good knowledge of the different jurisdictions and cultures.’
‘The team has a great focus in Lat Am and produces a lot of content. They have an extensive Lat Am bench.’
‘Maria Gonzalez-Calvet is the key contact. She is very experienced on Lat Am matters, putting her experience as former in-house lawyer and government prosecutor as a key asset to her clients.’
- Advised Avianca Holdings, the publicly traded company behind Colombia’s flagship airline, on a full declination and closure of the US SEC and DOJ’s investigations into potential FCPA violations.
Vinson & Elkins LLP is especially noted for energy (including oil and gas) sector cases, including allegations of FCPA violations, along with investigations linked to M&A and project development due diligence. The government investigations and white-collar defence practice is also active in the technology and financial services sectors. New York partner Palmina Fava is a genuine Latin America specialist with an active practice in investigations and compliance programmes. Washington DC’s Ephraim Wernick is an experienced figure in FCPA investigations by the DOJ and SEC. Matthew Jacobs has joined DLA Piper LLP (US).
Michael Dry; Palmina Fava; Ephraim Wernick; Zachary Terwilliger
‘Very strong, especially in energy and Latin America. Has built a top team.‘
‘Fry Wernick and Palmina Fava – they are impressive leaders.‘
State-Owned Oil Company
Joachim Alexander von der Goltz
Multibillion-dollar private equity fund
- Represented a state-owned oil company in Latin America in an investigation of the acquisition and development of an alternative energy facility.
- Represented a fund manager who utilised Mossack Fonseca to create shell company with bearer shares to hide the beneficial ownership of an offshore entity to avoid US taxes.
- Represented a multibillion-dollar private equity fund in conducting exhaustive compliance due diligence connected to a $100m-plus infrastructure investment in Colombia.
Arnold & Porter is a growing force in Latin America white-collar defence and investigations. Leveraging the firm’s historical focus on Latin America, the practice represents a range of multinationals with interests in the region, along with multi-latinas and a number of individuals. This includes acting for Samsung Heavy Industries in the ongoing Lavo Jato investigation in Brazil, in which the firm secured declinations from the DOJ and a global resolution with multiple Brazilian agencies. New York partner Marcus Asner is prolific in representing clients in connection with Latin America anti-corruption cases.
Marcus Asner; Amy Jeffress
Samsung Heavy Industries
Global Plywood and Lumber Trading
- Represented Samsung Heavy Industries in the ongoing high-profile Petrobras corruption / Lavo Jato investigation, prosecution, and related litigation, obtaining declinations from the DOJ, a successful global resolution with multiple Brazilian agencies and winning a motion to dismiss, with prejudice, on all the federal RICO and fraud claims.
- Acted for Israeli businessman Benjamin Steinmetz in English court proceedings to provide expert evidence on FCPA and related issues under federal securities law and New York state law.
- Represented Global Plywood and Lumber Trading in a Lacey Act investigation regarding importation of timber from the Peruvian Amazon into the US.
Greenberg Traurig LLP is best known for representing individuals, executives, former government officials, and family offices in anti-corruption, fraud and money laundering investigations. This includes cases involving FCPA-violation allegations. Daniel Pulecio-Boek is a prominent figure in the market, leading the majority of the firm’s white-collar defence and special investigations matters in Latin America.
Marc Rossell; José Raz Guzmán
‘It is a firm that has the necessary know-how to advise business clients in a comprehensive manner. The presence in different countries allows the generation of synergies in legal advice for multinationals. Additionally, the possibility of having advice in different languages makes the relationship closer and optimises the understanding of the answers. They are open to review billing if requested by the client, which demonstrates an interest in building a long-term, trusting relationship with the client.’
‘Daniel Pulecio – Simple but complete answers in a timely manner – Availability to kindly serve clients at all times – They go the “extra mile” in the work they do.’
‘The GT team we work with is top notch. It is led by Daniel Pulecio, who is an experienced, knowledgeable and very creative attorney. It is at the level of the best American law firms. Quick responses, flexible fees, state-of-the-art technology.’
‘Team leader Daniel Pulecio stands out. Very good knowledge, agility in responses, aggressiveness in actions.’
‘The firm is very suitable for conveying to the final client aspects of cultural differences between American Law and Latin American law. Extremely complete analysis, to the point and understandable for a non-American non-lawyer. Practices located in the indicated places. The technological aspects of the firm are very useful and very practical to use. (ie upload documents securely).’
Large Group of Costa Rican Victims
Erick Archila Dehesa
- Represented the former general manager of the largest energy plant in Central America in a cross-border corruption investigation, including alleged violations of the FCPA and potential US extradition proceedings.
- Represented a group of Costa Rican victims in a large Ponzi scheme and related DOJ, SEC and receivership proceedings.
- Acted for Erick Archila-Dehesa, the owner of major Guatemalan media conglomerates, Grupo A, and former Minister of Mines and Energy of Guatemala, in connection with a money laundering prosecution by the Guatemalan government.
Morrison Foerster's investigations and white-collar defence group has a deep affinity with Latin America. The team features a number of former federal prosecutors and three former managers from the DOJ criminal division’s fraud section. The practice remains active in internal investigations and defence of clients before the DOJ and SEC. It represents a range of multinationals and multilatinas and continues to work on ongoing matters relating to its engagement as US compliance monitor to the Odebrecht (now Novonor) monitorship, following Odebrecht’s FCPA settlement in 2016. New York partner Ruti Smithline is co-chair of the investigations and white-collar criminal defence group and is co-chair of the Latin America desk. Washington DC’s Charles Duross is global co-chair of the investigations and white-collar criminal defence group, and is also active in Latin America cases. Also in Washington DC, Charles Duross is another key figure.
‘The Morrison Foerster team has remarkable knowledge and mastery of the subjects they work on.’
‘Morrison Foerter’s attorneys, in particular Charles Duross and Ruti Smithline, stand out for their immense humility, discipline and exceptional ability to relate to people and build bridges and bonds.’
- Served as corporate compliance monitor to Odebrecht (now known as Novonor); the monitorship is ongoing.
Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin LLP‘s large US-based white-collar, government litigation and investigations practice has a strong emphasis on Latin America cases. This is helped by the wider firm’s long history with the region and substantial client base of multi-latinas and multinationals with interests in Latin America. It frequently represents Latin American businesses before US government agencies and is well known for its expertise in FCPA investigations. The team features a number of former federal prosecutors and officials, including various figures who have held senior positions at the DOJ. New York’s Timothy Treanor is the lead partner for anti-corruption matters in Latin America. Dallas partner Paige Holden Montgomery is also active in Latin America cases.
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)
Bodega Latina Corporation
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Vantage Deepwater Petroleum Company
PACC Offshore Services Holdings
JPMorgan Chase & Company
Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas
Arthur J Gallagher & Co
- Represented CONCACAF in internal investigations that formed a significant part of the evidence supporting the DOJ’s prosecutions of various US and foreign football officials.
- Represented Vantage at every stage of a high-profile dispute with Brazil’s Petrobras over a cancelled contract, overcoming Petrobras’s bribery defence that it was a victim of corruption during the Operation Lavo Jato scandal.
- Represented subsidiaries of JPMorgan Chase in connection with claims arising from one of the largest bank frauds and failures in Latin America, which has resulted in two ICC international arbitrations.
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Steptoe & Johnson LLP remains prominent in the market thanks to the presence of senior Washington DC figure Lucinda Low who has extensive FCPA and anti-corruption compliance and enforcement experience in Brazil specifically, along with Argentina, Mexico, Chile and a number of other Latin American jurisdictions.
Winston & Strawn LLP has a sizeable US-based white-collar, regulatory defence and investigations department with many team members having a strong track record in FCPA and anti-corruption cases in Latin America. This includes representing a number of prominent multi-latinas and individuals. Abbe Lowell is co-chair of the global white-collar, regulatory defence and investigations practice and has solid experience in big-ticket cases in Latin America. Cari Stinebower is another key practitioner with particular expertise in sanctions, anti-money laundering and anti-corruption. San Francisco partner Pamela Davis is head of the firm’s FCPA and anti-corruption team and frequently advises multinationals on cases that have a strong Latin America component. Gustavo Membiela has joined the firm's new Miami office from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, further reinforcing the team. Named individuals are based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.
Abbe Lowell; Allen Miller; Talbert Navia
‘They provide a very personalised service and have a very good disposition. They have lawyers who speak Spanish. They have competitive prices.’
‘They have partners who belonged to both the DOJ and the SEC, and lawyers who speak Spanish.‘
CMA CGM / CMA CGM America
Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex)
- Advised CMA CGM and CMA CGM America in connection with a plaintiffs’ case brought pursuant to Title III of the Helms Burton Act.
- Defended the former founder and manager of BDO Puerto Rico in a federal criminal case alleging that he and the company misused their relationships to obtain government contracts.