Corruption in Latin America: More countries under scrutiny

Guatemala, Panama and Venezuela will be scrutinised after being considered potential corruption practitioners. TMF Group’s North LatAm Sub Regional Director Walter Gutsch looks at how this affects the countries’ reputation and what it could mean for the business environment.

The world’s regulators often catch private enterprises and public organisations from all over the world participating in some kind of corrupt activity, even if those organisations are usually considered squeaky-clean. 

Countries are no different. Despite being considered one of the most “transparent” countries in the region, Guatemala was just named a potential active practitioner of corrupt activities. The country -  alongside with other 6 neighbours – will be scrutinised to find out if it has any relation or has duplicated the Petrobras corruption scheme that is currently under investigation in Brazil. 

The global anti-corruption coalition Transparency International reports it is specifically investigating if several construction firms in Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Dominican Republic are operating a “business model” based on bribes and cartelisation of the sector in their countries or in other countries where they might have significant operation - similarly or in conjunction with Petrobras. The projects under scrutiny are related to transportation, services infrastructure and other systems or services that have a direct impact in the quality of life of millions of Latin Americans. 

The effects of corruption and other potential threats like global terrorism, large scale fraud and money laundering have fuelled a high degree of uncertainty and instability in the worldwide business environment. These illicit activities cause inefficiency, money and time wasting, as well as impacting growth opportunities. 

But companies can be proactive and protect themselves from the risks in any jurisdiction they are operating. Read our briefing paper Corruption in Latin America: Are you protecting your business? for more information on how you can protect your business from the effects of corruption and other threats. 

Get in touch with our experts in Guatemala, Venezuela or other countries in the Americas.

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Walter
Walter  Gutsch
Opinion

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