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Wednesday
Jul292015

Latin America Enforcement Report – July 2015

Here are highlights about Latin American corruption, enforcement, and compliance through June 2015.

Although some countries aren't strictly "Latin American" (Guyana and Puerto Rico, for example), they're usually included in the regional grouping, and I thought it was appropriate to mention them.

Argentina: According to the newspaper La Nación, the Federal Planning Minister, Julio De Vido, and his wife, Alessandra Minnicelli, are under investigations for unlawful enrichment. Their statement of assets didn't disclose a farm in Zarate, valued at $750,000, among other issues.

Bolivia and Peru: Martin Belaunde, a former adviser to Peruvian President Ollanta Hullama who is facing charges with graft and unlawful association, reportedly bribed judges in the six months he was in Bolivia, where he sought political asylum to avoid being extradited to his country.

Colombia: After Joseph Sigelman, PetroTiger's co-founder and former chief executive, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, the U.S. DOJ declined to prosecute the company, which made a voluntary disclosure, fully cooperating with the department’s investigation.

Dominican Republic and Cuba: Eliécer Fuentes Valdez, 53, was arrested by the Dominican Interpol in Santo Domingo, and extradited to Cuba. Valdez was wanted by Cuban authorities on charges of commercial fraud and corruption against Raul Castro’s government.

Guatemala: President Otto Perez will join the list of Guatemalan public authorities being investigated for corruption. Already under investigation are the Vice President, the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Energy & Mines, the Minister of Environment, the President of the Central Bank, and the Head of the Social Security Administration, all of whom resigned their offices.

Guatemala's Supreme Court stripped President Otto Perez of his immunity from prosecution to face investigation, allowing Congress to investigate grounds for doing so. Gustavo Martinez, secretary general to the presidency and fiancé of Perez’s daughter, also resigned over allegations of illicit enrichment.

Guyana: The government, which is called the Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), passed the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill 2015. According to the Finance Minister Winston Jordan, the bill aims to bring significant investments to the country.

Honduras: President Juan Orlando Hernadez admitted that his election campaign received financing from business people linked to a corruption scheme involving the Social Security Institute. The National Party said $150,000 in donations was received for the 2013’s campaign.

Panama: Former Vice President Felipe Virzi was arrested during an investigation for corruption related to an irrigation project that was never finished. Virzi is suspected of receiving a $10.2 million payment from an Ecuadorian company which won a $37.4 million contract to build the project. He is seen as close to Ricardo Martinelli, a former president also being investigated for corruption.

Puerto Rico: Manuel Acevedo Hernandez, a former Superior Court judge, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking bribes in exchange for acquitting a man in a drunk-driving case, which led to the death of a security guard. Hernandez received a motorcycle, clothing, a watch and cuff links, and had a garage constructed at his home.

Venezuela: A small group of leftist intellectuals called the Marea Socialista requested an investigation of the National Center for Foreign Trade (CENCOEX). Since 2003, when currency controls were imposed by the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, $259 billion is allegedly unaccounted for.

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Lucas Zanoni is an undergraduate student of law at University of São Paulo and a legal intern in the compliance and anti-bribery team of Chediak Advogados. The firm offers legal assistance for both Brazilian and international clients across different industries and business sectors.

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