What’s the reputation in local business circles of that person you’re about to hire to broker a major supply contract with a state-owned company in Venezuela or Mexico? Is he the type who’ll offer a bribe to a top government official to ensure your deal goes through?
Are the rumours accurate that your long-time sales representative in Colombia or Peru is being investigated by an anti-corruption agency for making facilitation payments to fix public tenders in your company’s favour?
Is it true that your main competitor in Brazil or Ecuador is channelling cash and gifts to a judge to persuade him to rule against you in an ongoing litigation case, and paying off journalists to keep the story out of the media?
These sorts of pressing concerns come up time and again when businesses operate in Latin America.
But today, the risk that you could end up on the wrong side of anti-graft legislation, such as the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, is greater than ever before, with a criminal prosecution, a hefty settlement, and your corporate reputation in tatters the potential result.
Investigations with the utmost discretion
When it comes to the thorny questions over the probity of the individuals and the companies you relate with in Latin America, you’re not alone.
A wide array of businesses with interests in the region—including natural resources companies, manufacturers, banks and accountancy firms—come to us when they need to dig down deep for answers to matters relating to anti-corruption compliance and reputational risk.
We engineer our investigations with the utmost discretion and skill, selecting for enquiry only those sources best-placed to answer the crucial questions, and crafting the most subtle of approaches to avoid alerting interested parties.
On numerous occasions, we have unearthed intelligence that has startled our clients, or confirmed their suspicions.
Examining a Colombian firm’s record for winning tenders
A European manufacturer asked us to examine a Colombian firm’s impressive track record for obtaining government contracts as part of a compliance review of its representatives in high-risk export markets. Latin iQ made tactful enquiries with regulators, competitors and former staff, and compiled an intelligence report detailing the reasons why the Colombian firm was suspected of bribery to win public tenders.
Client: European manufacturer
Evaluating a bank’s exposure to the Panama Papers data leak
A European bank needed to understand to what degree it was exposed to reputational damage as a result of the ‘Panama Papers’ data leak and the media coverage of public figures’ links to undeclared offshore entities. Latin iQ cross-referenced intelligence from multiple sources with the leaked data to develop a Latin America risk map. Our analysis helped the bank evaluate its reputational liabilities in each jurisdiction.
Client: European bank
Probing a Venezuelan agent’s suspected involvement in bribery
A US exporter of oil industry equipment suspected that a commercial representative in Venezuela was paying bribes to officials at state-controlled oil company PDVSA to boost sales, and that the company could therefore be in violation of the FCPA. Latin iQ conducted discreet interviews with well-placed sources, briefed the client on the evidence uncovered, and explained why the agent was on the US DOJ radar.
Client: US exporter
Establishing a Brazilian firm’s links to the Petrobras scandal
A US company asked us to gather insight on the reputation and business of an energy sector advisory firm, with an emphasis on establishing whether it had dealings with any of the companies implicated in the police probe into corruption surrounding Petrobras. Latin iQ discovered that the firm had ongoing dealings with a construction and engineering company being investigated for alleged bribery and collusion.
Client: US company
Knowing the good and the bad among Mexican contractors
A US firm wanted us to collect intelligence on the experience and the connections of several Mexican engineering companies whom it could potentially partner with in future energy-sector opportunities. The information compiled by Latin iQ enabled the client to determine which companies had the most reputable track record, which were the best connected politically, and which ones had likely engaged in acts that could constitute FCPA violations.