CD: In your experience, how serious and widespread is corruption activity in Brazil?

Whitehead: I would say that overall the incidence of corruption in Brazil is relatively high, although by no means is Brazil in the top tier of errant countries. This view is based primarily on my interactions and discussions with clients and my experience of conducting forensic and compliance work in various other regions, albeit I am a relative newcomer to Brazil. It also reflects what I have seen and read in various surveys and studies. The Transparency International perceptions index for example ranks Brazil somewhere around the middle of all 180 ranked countries – and ahead of most of the BRIC countries – but this must be seen against the fact that Brazil is now the 6th largest economy in the world. I think it is important to appreciate two important factors when assessing corruption in Brazil – the relatively high level of involvement that the public sector still has on business, and the sheer size and diversity of this amazing country which encompasses some of the most modern cities anywhere but also vast remote areas and a multitude of small towns and villages not unlike some parts of the developing world.

Oct-Dec 2013 issue

PwC Brazil