Overview

Debarment and other sanctions imposed by multilateral development banks (MDBs) can have a severe impact on the companies and individuals subject to them. Debarred companies may be "cross-debarred" by other MDBs, and the reputational damage caused by debarment can impact the ability of debarred companies to bid for contracts that are not MDB-financed. Sanctions proceedings are often lengthy and complex and require careful navigation.

Companies involved in MDB-financed projects should therefore be aware of the integrity compliance risks associated with those projects and proactively mitigate those risks by implementing an effective integrity compliance program (ICP), in line with MDB integrity compliance guidelines. Companies should be prepared for the MDBs to invoke their contractual audit rights and take seriously any MDB “show cause” letter and any formal investigation, which can be extensive. If a company is debarred, there will be a commercial imperative on obtaining release from debarment as soon as possible, and typically this will be conditional on the implementation of an ICP.

Mayer Brown lawyers have previously held senior positions in MDB integrity offices with oversight for the development, investigation and prosecution of fraud and corruption cases; coordinated a US/UK prosecution relating to corruption within an MDB while at the DOJ; defended companies and individuals under investigation for misconduct (fraud, corruption, collusion, coercion and obstruction) by the World Bank and other MDBs; advised clients on the development of ICPs designed to meet MDB integrity compliance guidelines; and acted as monitors or independent integrity compliance consultants reporting to MDBs.

We are therefore well placed to assist on all aspects of MDB integrity compliance and enforcement:

  • Conducting integrity risk assessments and helping clients design, implement and reinforce effective ICPs that are consistent with MDB guidelines.
  • Conducting internal investigations into allegations of misconduct involving MDB projects and advising on participation in voluntary disclosure programs.
  • Conducting independent internal investigations into alleged misconduct when required by an MDB.
  • Counseling clients on responses to MDB audit requests and MDB investigations into alleged misconduct.
  • Defending companies in MDB sanctions proceedings and engaging in settlement negotiations on behalf of clients.
  • Advising sanctioned companies on the development and implementation of ICPs and supporting applications for release from debarment or other sanctions.
  • Acting as an independent integrity compliance consultant/monitor reporting to the MDB on whether a sanctioned company's ICP meets the standards of the MDB's integrity compliance guidelines.

Experiencia

  • Defended an international construction company in an MDB investigation of alleged prohibited practices in South America. 
  • Defended a Fortune 500 company in an MDB investigation of alleged prohibited practices in South America.
  • Negotiated a resolution agreement on behalf of an international infrastructure company and various subsidiaries following a three-year MDB investigation of alleged prohibited practices in South and Central America.
  • Defended a senior executive of an international engineering company in an MDB investigation of alleged prohibited practices in Asia.
  • Acted as an independent integrity compliance consultant reporting to the African Development Bank (AfDB) in relation to a large Chinese company debarred by the AfDB and other MDBs.
  • Acted as an independent compliance monitor for Macmillan Publishers Limited (now part of the Springer Nature Group) after its debarment by the World Bank for misconduct in its East African businesses and related SFO enforcement.
  • Advised an Australian-headquartered engineering consultancy debarred by the World Bank on the development of its compliance program and its successful application for release from debarment.
  • Advised an Azeri technology company debarred by the World Bank on the development of its compliance program and its successful application for release from debarment.
  • Represented a senior accountant at a Big Four global accounting firm in connection with an investigation by the Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Provision of investigations training to World Bank personnel.