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Anti-corruption law takes effect in Brazil

January 29, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — An anti-corruption law that makes companies liable for bribes paid by their employees and for acts of corruption with public officials went into effect Wednesday in Brazil.

Previously, only individuals could be punished for bribery and corruption.

Under the new law, liability extends to a company’s directors, officers and employees involved in unlawful acts, whether in Brazil or abroad.

Companies that resort to bribes face fines of up to 20 percent of their gross annual revenue or a maximum of 60 million reals ($25,000).

They could also be unable to receive credit from public financial institutions for up to five years, have their assets confiscated and forced to end their operations in the country.

President Dilma Rousseff, who ratified the law in August , is expected to sign the enabling legislation needed to enforce the law by the end of the week.

Congress passed the law in the wake of the wave of violent protests that swept Brazil in June in which demonstrators took to the streets to protest against corruption, transportation fare hikes, high taxes, poor services and high World Cup spending.

With the new law, Brazil complies with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Anti-Bribery Convention that criminalizes bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.

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