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Despite some progress, corruption still a widespread concern in Latin America

Employees report increased anti-corruption measures, but most say country laws are ineffective

If recent news reports are any indication, bribery, corruption and fraud are still global concerns. Evidently, Latin America is no exception, according to the recently-released Latin America Corruption Survey from Miller & Chevalier and Matteson Ellis.

Of the 439 respondents surveyed across the U.S. and Latin America, nearly 72 percent believe that their countries’ anti-corruption laws are ineffective, and 44 percent of executives say that corruption is a significant obstacle to doing business. Many respondents noted that this corruption also extends to the ranks of government and law enforcement, often rendering anti-corruption laws ineffective.

Still, there has been progress in the region since a similar Miller & Chevalier study in 2008, with more respondents reporting that both businesses and governments have taken increased measures to combat corruption. Multinational corporations have generally been quicker to implement more training and due diligence procedures than their smaller regional counterparts.

“Companies understand the potentially high cost of corruption and are investing in education and other tools to protect their reputation, their employees, and their bottom line," said James Tillen, coordinator of Miller & Chevalier’s international anti-corruption practice group.

Some more key findings from the report are below:

  • 92% of companies that are publicly listed in the U.S. and operate in Latin America have an anti-corruption policy
  • 85% of respondents said their companies’ management had taken anti-corruption steps, up from 77% in 2008
  • 75% of respondents know of an offender being punished for making or receiving illicit payments, up from 69% in 2008
  • 76% of Chileans said their country’s anti-corruption laws are effective (the U.S. came in second, at 70%)
  • 0% of Paraguayans believe that their country’s anti-corruption laws are effective

Read the full survey here.

Alanna Byrne

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