International graft crackdown takes hold, FBI official says, citing Brazil

The Brazil corruption scandal hitting the highest level of government is seen by many as another sign that the $1 trillion-a-year drained from the global economy through graft is unstoppable. Federal Bureau of Investigation veteran William McMurry views it differently — the country’s high-level prosecutions of public officials show that law enforcement is cracking down on bribery in places where it has long been ignored as the cost of doing business.

Investigators are sharing investigative resources in a widening circle of countries with a string of billion dollar cases that are among the largest in history. In places such as Brazil, Libya and Malaysia, they are following money trails that leads through Western banks in each of the cases, showing the need for U.S. compliance and legal teams to be on alert.

“There is undoubtedly a global push toward anti-corruption that has ever really existed even just a decade or two earlier — and you can see it in the way our cases are going and the amount of cooperation we are getting in place where traditionally we would not,” said McMurry, who heads the FBI’s New York Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit. “Brazil is the greatest example I can think right now of what the future looks like.”

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