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Brazil enacts tough anti-bribery law
August 5, 2013, 4:28 am

[AP Images]

Corruption and better access to public services were key topics in the recent protests in Brazil [AP Images]

Brazil has enacted a new anti-bribery law that stipulates hasher punishment for foreign and local companies doing business in the country that are involved in wrongdoing.

If convicted of bribery allegations, companies would face fines of up to 20 per cent of their gross annual revenue for the previous year or a maximum of $26.22 million.

This is Brazil’s first step in making companies liable for bribes paid by their employees.

The law would come into force 180 days after it was published on Friday.

Public anger and protests that rocked the country a month ago has led the Rousseff government to enact a number of welfare measures alongwith steps seen as a crackdown on corruption.

“It is our priority – the legislation should equate corruption to murder or torture with much more severe punishment,” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said earlier in June .

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had mandated this anti-bribery move, which was not adopted earlier by Brazil.

Brazil is not a member of this club of developed countries.

Brazil was placed 69 on the 176-nation corruption index of Transparency International in 2012.

Twenty-five out of 37 defendants were convicted in the largest corruption trial in the country last year. The Mensalao or “big monthly payment” scandal that involved key political figures was a watershed trial that alleged the government of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was buying support from coalition partners.

With inputs from Agencies