This article was republished with permission from FCPAméricas Blog, for which Matteson Ellis is founder, editor and regular contributor.
FCPAméricas recently interviewed Bruce Horowitz, a lawyer in Ecuador who conducts considerable anti-corruption compliance work and understands the local terrain. Mr. Horowitz has served as Co-Chair of the ABA’s Anti-Corruption Committee and is currently launching the Center for the Study of Bribery and Extortion Situations in Ecuador. The interview can be heard here.
In the interview, Mr. Horowitz shared his thoughts on managing corruption risks in Ecuador:
“Something that people should do and companies should do when they come here is talk and find out what government offices that they’ll have to work with have people who extort … [G]et to know each office and the people in each office. Individuals do different things and there are people who don’t ask for bribes and there are people who do ask for bribes and usually it is not difficult to find out who’s who.”
“[When facing corruption-related delays at the courts,] filing something in writing and going back to the courthouse over and over and over again and filing complaints with judicial counsel does work because judges are noticing that other judges are being fired because they are not getting the work done.”
“Be sure that all your paperwork is correct and that you file things on time.”
“People know other people and it goes all the way through society and it really is not based on class. It has to do with friendships and family systems … this is one of the ways you can stop … their demand for a bribe because you know someone who is a friend of theirs or they are in a hierarchy above the person who is demanding the bribe, so the word gets back to that person who is demanding a bribe and will or may stop.”
“What you always have to remember is, if you can’t get what you want without paying the bribe, then you finally do have to walk away, but you don’t have to walk away at the first sign of a bribe demand.”
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