Odebrecht announced it has reached the end of its compliance monitorship, four years after pleading guilty and resolving charges with authorities in the United States, Brazil, and Switzerland for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Charles Duross, a partner at law firm Morrison & Foerster, has been overseeing compliance at the Brazil-based construction and engineering company since February 2017. In concluding the monitorship, Duross certified that “Odebrecht’s compliance system, including its policies and procedures, is designed and implemented to prevent and detect potential violations of anti-corruption laws,” the company said in a Nov. 18 press release.

The monitorship was mandated as part of a plea deal Odebrecht reached in December 2016 to resolve its global bribery case. In April 2017, a U.S. federal judge formally ordered Odebrecht to pay $2.6 billion in fines for FCPA violations.

In February 2020, Odebrecht’s monitorship was extended by an additional 270 days because the company failed to fulfill its obligations under the plea agreement, including “failure to implement and maintain a compliance and ethics program designed to prevent and detect violations of the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws throughout its operations.”

Compliance enhancements

Odebrecht detailed the extensive scope and global reach of the monitorship: More than 900 people were interviewed in person and by videoconference, including board members, business leaders, and project managers. Additionally, “approximately 30,000 documents related to the company’s operations and compliance program were reviewed,” Odebrecht said.

“The monitor’s team traveled to seven countries; visited 11 construction sites; tested more than 5,000 transactions; recommended improvements in policies and procedures; and surveyed more than 1,300 members to assess the perception and effectiveness of the compliance program and the company’s commitment to keep a robust compliance program,” the company stated.

Odebrecht said it has since made “significant improvements” in its control environment and is now a “completely different company.” In a statement, Chairman José Mauro Carneiro da Cunha said the conclusion of the monitorship is “attestation that Odebrecht has learned from its own mistakes and has reached the same level as other corporations that operate with ethics, integrity, and transparency.”

The company added it “has committed to give priority to compliance at all levels, with the implementation of policies and training, in addition to investment in improving internal controls. At the same time, the company is committed to strengthening corporate governance, ensuring, among other measures, the appointment of independent directors.”

In June 2019, Odebrecht filed for bankruptcy protection. “Together with the financial restructuring achieved in July after the court-supervised reorganization was ratified, the end of the monitoring and the certification given by the Department of Justice monitor help in the recognition of the new company we already are,” said CEO Ruy Sampaio in the press release.

“Today, we are a forward-looking company,” Sampaio added. “We are reinvigorated by the latest advances and the extensive renewal of our teams. At the same time, we feel strengthened by the accumulation of experience and the learning process in more than seven decades.”