Brazilian antitrust enforcement as the best among the world’s developing countries, experts say

Antitrust experts have considered Brazil as perhaps the world’s second best criminal jurisdiction and one of the world’s most well-respected antitrust enforcers. This was one of the conclusions at the International Bar Association’s annual convention in Vancouver, Canada.

From 2003 to 2006, the Brazilian antitrust authorities were involved in more than 30 dawn raids and 13 executives faced criminal charges. From 2007 to 2010, the antitrust authorities conducted 267 dawn raids, detained 83 people, prosecuted 237 executives and sentenced 21 to jail. Even though the jail sentences are currently under appeal, there is a great chance that not every appeal will succeed and some of the convicted executives will be put behind bars. Unlike other jurisdictions with criminal antitrust laws, which are hesitating to bring criminal charges, the Brazilian Antitrust Authorities are eager to establish example to increase dissuasion among the Brazilian companies.

However, the soaring number of dawn raids has led the Brazilian Antitrust Authorities to a data storage crisis. Following each dawn raid, a massive amount of documents and digital data must be assessed and stored. This bottleneck has caused a decrease in the productivity and to make things worse, there are only 30 case handlers dealing with cartel matters.

In spite of the recent progress, the Brazilian antitrust enforcement needs substantial additional resources which depend on the bill with amendments to the antitrust law, which is under analysis by the National Congress. Such amendments will allow the recruitment of as many as 200 case handlers in order to decrease the average duration of 10 years for a cartel case in the administrative sphere.

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