Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

GIR 100 2019

Koury Lopes Advogados

25 October 2019

Koury Lopes Advogados was among the first Brazilian firms to develop an investigations practice. That helps explain why US law firms now frequently work with KLA on major cases.

The firm

Based in São Paulo and established in 2002, KLA is best known for its investigations and compliance advice. The firm’s compliance, investigations and white-collar team has worked on some of Brazil’s very first monitorships.

KLA began working in the investigations space 10 years ago, when few Brazilian firms were active in the field. Its team currently comprises four partners, six associates and three trainees.

The firm prides itself on its integrity, stating that it has in the past refused to work on huge and potentially lucrative investigations because the clients in question wanted to interfere in KLA’s work, such as controlling what information firm’s lawyers would have access to. KLA says it wants its clients to be ethical.

Partner Eloy Rizzo is listed in Who’s Who Legal: Investigations and has extensive experience in conducting anti-corruption investigations, including misconduct covered by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and UK Bribery Act. He has experience in negotiating leniency agreements with Brazilian authorities and represented companies in administrative and judicial proceedings. He was promoted to partner in 2015.

Filipe Magliarelli joined the firm in 2017 and is described as the firm’s “white-collar specialist”. He represents Brazilian and multinational companies in investigations, criminal proceedings and administrative procedures.

Paulo Prado, who primarily focuses on administrative law and public procurement, often assists KLA’s anti-corruption practice by conducting risk assessments for companies that are bidding for public contracts. Ricardo Reis, meanwhile, focuses his anti-corruption practice on the pharmaceutical and medical sectors, participating in complex compliance investigations. He also has experience in providing compliance advice in the sports industry, having assisted clients during the World Cup and Olympic Games in Brazil.

Former partner Isabel Franco, previously a compliance monitor for Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem, left the firm in May 2019 to move to Azevedo Sette Advogados. While at KLA, Franco advised several major companies tied up in the infamous bribery investigation into Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras, known as Operation Car Wash.

Recent events

The firm says that its work with transport company EcoRodovias has kept it busy between 2018 and 2019, having conducted an internal investigation at the company after two of its subsidiaries were accused of misconduct. GIR has previously reported that EcoRodovias agreed to pay US$100 million as part of a leniency agreement with the MPF to resolve allegations that it paid bribes to government officials in the state of Paraná to win a contract to build a highway. The MPF said that US$92.4 million of the fine will go towards repairing road damages.

KLA is representing medical device company Orthofix in an investigation over allegations that it inflated contracts to supply medical equipment to clients including Brazil’s National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedics and the health department of Rio de Janeiro. Orthofix’s offices in Brazil were raided in July 2018 and authorities froze US$250 million worth of its assets. KLA managed to overrule the asset freezing order after convincing Rio de Janeiro’s Federal Court of Appeals that there was a lack of evidence against the company and its executives.

KLA also helped Chile’s LATAM Airlines during the company’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act monitorship that was imposed as part of a 2016 settlement with the US Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission. The monitorship concluded successfully in 2019.

Network

KLA is based in São Paulo and the office includes native speakers of Spanish and English amongst its ranks. It also regularly assists foreign law firms, advising them on Brazilian anti-corruption legislation, including the US-based Miller & Chevalier, Mayer Brown and Paul Hastings among others.

Clients

Some of the bigger names in the public domain that KLA has acted for include medical company Orthofix International, transport company EcoRodovias and LATAM Airlines Group.

Track record

In 2017 Rizzo and Franco were appointed the Brazilian monitors for Braskem, an affiliate of construction company Odebrecht, as part of a settlement involving multiple authorities, including ones in the US and Brazil, that resolved allegations that the companies bribed government officials in Brazil, Argentina, Angola, Mozambique, Ecuador and Mexico. The bribery resolution, which was worth billions of dollars, is the largest history and also included the imposition of US monitors. Lawyers at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe are serving as the US monitors for Braskem.

KLA has also advised several major companies in connection with the sweeping Operation Car Wash investigation.

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