It seems like the president has really started listening to the voice coming from the streets and decided to toughen the fight against corruption also in the corporate sphere. It is known that there is no corruption without a corruptor, but until today, in Brazil, a legislative gap allowed only individuals to be made responsible for practices usually referred to as being "little orthodox."

The enactment of the Anticorruption Act (Bill of Law 6826/2010), carried out with the publication of the presidential act in the country’s Official Gazette, shall make it possible for legal entities to also start being responsible, in the administrative and civil spheres, for involvement in corruption schemes, fraud in invitations to bid and other acts that harm the public good in Brazil and in other countries.

The final text enacted breaks paradigms and seems to meet requirements from international bodies, especially the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which had an important role with the Office of the Comptroller General (CGU) for some sections to be vetoed.

From the three sections withdrawn from the final text there is one which limited the fine to be imposed in an administrative proceeding to the amount of the contract in which the illegal act was practiced. This was seen by many as an encouragement so that companies could choose taking the risk of committing a crime, when they knew that there would be limitations in the determination of fines. With the veto, the fine initially set forth prevails, and it can amount to 20% of the gross revenues registered by the company in the year prior to the start of the administrative proceeding or, when the referred calculation is not possible, the amount of up to R$ 60 million.

The two other sections excluded conditioned the application of certain penalties to the proof of malice or guilt of employees of the company that benefited from the illegal act and considered the participation of a civil servant in the fraud scheme as a mitigating factor. These sections were also strongly criticized by the CGU and - in a demonstration of zero tolerance - they ended up being vetoed by president Dilma Rousseff.

Por Leonardo Ruiz Machado