María González Calvet
María González Calvet serves as co-chair of the firm’s award-winning global anti-corruption and international risk practice and Latin America initiative, and is a former U.S. federal prosecutor and former in-house executive counsel of a Fortune 500 company. With a practice that spans two decades, María is recognized for her significant experience in anti-corruption and other investigative matters in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, and in every significant business sector.
Recognized for her deep understanding and experience in the application of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other anti-bribery statutes, María has worked with leaders in government, business and finance to conduct a wide variety of investigations and risk assessments. She has also represented companies, portfolio companies and individuals concerning multijurisdictional matters involving corruption, money laundering and other forms of financial fraud. More recently, María has been helping clients navigate the increased corruption and bribery risks posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic crisis.
María has conducted internal and government investigations in more than 40 countries around the globe arising from whistle-blower complaints, escalations from audits and other front-end monitoring, and benchmarking. María works closely with in-house counsel to conduct internal investigations and compliance reviews focusing on FCPA, anti-corruption and other risk areas. Drawing on her past work in government and the corporate sector to help clients across industries, including aerospace, health care and life sciences, energy, private equity and other investors, and geographies María works with clients to identify and mitigate corruption risks and implement effective compliance programs.
María serves as a trusted advisor to clients seeking wide-ranging counsel on global and cross-border risk and has particular experience in the following areas:
- Pre- and post-acquisition due diligence in high-risk markets; including for private equity investors
- International white collar fraud investigations
- Jurisdictional questions and challenges that arise from coordinated prosecution by multiple enforcement authorities
- Transactions and business dealings with government entities and financial institutions
- Risks associated with consortia and other partnerships
María is widely recognized as a thought leader in anti-corruption, particularly on anti-corruption risks and enforcement trends in Latin America. As one client noted to Legal 500, 'María is super experienced when it comes to performing internal investigations, speaks perfect Portuguese and Spanish and understands the Latin culture.' María is quoted frequently in the press for her expert commentary on anti-corruption issues and publishes a number of articles for well-known publications, including Law360, The Anti-Corruption Report and Latinvex. Notably, María is a contributor to GIR’s 2021 Latin America chapter of “The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations.” María also developed Ropes & Gray’s Anti-Corruption Legislation in Latin America Reference Guide, which highlights the firm’s depth of knowledge in the Latin America region.
María regularly presents at major industry-leading conferences across the globe, collaborating with TRACE International, Transparency International, Global Investigations Review, Latin Lawyer, American Conference Institute, and the American Bar Association, and hosts webinars, roundtables, and podcasts on emerging issues in anti-corruption and compliance. Given the heightened enforcement risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, María launched “Cafecito con Ropes & Gray,” a series of virtual roundtable discussions aiming to address anti-bribery and anti-corruption concerns for businesses operating in Latin America during the pandemic. María is also a member of the American Bar Association’s Women’s White Collar Defense Association and regularly co-hosts successful women’s events in Latin America, inviting leading business and legal professionals in the region.
Prior to joining Ropes & Gray in 2018, María served as Executive Counsel, Global Investigations for General Electric where she led and managed government, regulatory and internal investigations for the company’s business in Latin America. Earlier in her career, she was a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section, and was a member of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit where she led some of the Department’s most important investigations involving allegations of corruption and other white collar offenses. María is a fluent, native Spanish speaker and an advanced Portuguese speaker. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked in education, focusing on adult literacy and bilingual education.
- Conducting an internal investigation into allegations of fraud and bribery after irregularities were identified during company audit by external auditors involving Spain, India, Morocco, Indonesia, U.K., U.S., and Vietnam.
- Assisting a global transportation networking company with the risk assessment and evaluation of its compliance program for its operations in Latin America.
- Retained by a global client to conduct an internal investigation into the two of its South American affiliates that provided services to Odebrecht SA, a Brazilian conglomerate that works in the fields of engineering, construction, and petrochemicals.
- Conducted an internal investigation for a Chilean salmon farming company following accusations that it had been reporting false mortality figures and had caused environmental damage.
- Advising an Argentinian portfolio company of a global advisory firm with restructuring its anti-corruption compliance program, including review and analysis of applicable compliance policies and procedures in both English and Spanish, on-site compliance training, monitoring, and transaction testing.
- Representing a global pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturer in relation to an ongoing cross-border investigation into bidding practices at government-operated healthcare institutions in Brazil.
- Conducts pre-acquisition anti-corruption diligence for large private equity firms and other clients in high-risk jurisdictions, including assisting with post-acquisition implementation of enhanced compliance controls, as well as effective and efficient portfolio company monitoring while preserving company independence.
- Conducting an internal investigation related to “Operazione Conquibus,” the Italian authorities’ criminal investigation of alleged pharmaceutical manufacturer bribes to Italian doctors on behalf of a multinational pharmaceutical manufacturer.
- Quoted, “More Petrobras Fallout: Sargeant Marine Pleads Guilty,” The Anti-Corruption Report (September 30, 2020)
- Co-author, “Cracks in the Foundation: Sargeant Marine Inc. Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Pay $16mm for Bribery Schemes,” Ropes & Gray Alert (September 23, 2020)
- Featured, “Can Latin America Guard Both Citizens and Their Privacy?” Latin America Advisor (September 10, 2020)
- Co-author, “Analysis and Takeaways from the DOJ’s and SEC’s Recently Released Second Edition of A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” Ropes & Gray Alert (July 10, 2020)
- Quoted, “ECCP Refinements Encourage Companies to Make Compliance a Positive Feedback Loop,” Anti-Corruption Report (June 24, 2020)
- Co-author, “OECD Working Group on Bribery Assesses the Performance of Colombia and Costa Rica,” The Anti-Corruption Report (June 10, 2020)
- Co-author, “Ensuring Compliance as Usual Even Without Business as Usual in Latin America,” Ropes & Gray Alert (April 2020)
- Co-author, “COVID-19 Lands in Latin America: Mitigation Strategies for Increased Corruption Risk,” The Anti-Corruption Report (April 15, 2020)
- Co-author, “Elevated Bribery and Fraud Risks in Latin America in the Wake of COVID-19,” Ropes & Gray Alert (April 2020)
- Co-author, “Former Alstom Executive Wins Acquittal of FCPA Counts,” Ropes & Gray Alert (February 2020)
- Co-author, “Four Years and Almost $4 Billion: Airbus Corruption Investigations End with Sky-High Fine,” Ropes & Gray Alert (January 2020)
- Co-author, “Bribery: Costa Rica Enacts Corporate Criminal Liability,” Latinvex (October 30, 2019)
- Quoted, “Telefônica’s Settlement Demonstrates the Dangers of Lavish Hospitality Programs,” The Anti-Corruption Report (May 15, 2019)
- Co-author, “Firing on All Cylinders: What to Expect in the PDVSA Investigation and How Companies Should Respond,” The Anti-Corruption Report (May 1, 2019) (Part 2 of 2)
- Co-author, “Firing on All Cylinders: U.S. Enforcement Efforts Against Venezuelan State-Owned Oil Company PDVSA,” The Anti-Corruption Report (April 17, 2019) (Part 1 of 2)
- Co-author, “Brazilian Federal Supreme Court Decision May Invalidate Key Operation Car Wash Efforts, but Enforcement Efforts Show No Sign of Slowing Down,” Ropes & Gray Alert (March 26, 2019)
- Quoted, “International Trends in the Fight Against Corruption,” El Mundo del Abogado (February 28, 2019)
- Co-author, “Recent Developments in Latin American Anti-Corruption Enforcement,” The Anti-Corruption Report (January 9, 2019)
- Co-author, “AMLO in Office: A New Dawn in Mexico’s Fight Against Corruption?” Ropes & Gray Alert (January 8, 2019)
- Co-author, “Petrobras Reaches $1.78 billion FCPA Resolution,” Ropes & Gray Alert (October 1, 2018)
- Quoted, “New Observ Institute to Help Fight Corruption in Latin America,” Corporate Counsel (September 24, 2018)
- Featured, “María González Calvet, de Ropes & Gray, responde el Cuestionario LexLatin,” LexLatin (September 18, 2018)
- Featured, “Former GE in-house joins Ropes & Gray's LatAm practice,” Latin Lawyer (September 12, 2018)
- Featured, “General Electric’s Anti-Corruption Warrior,” Hispanic Executive Magazine (March/April 2018)
- Panelist, “Self-Disclosure Decision Making: How Practitioners are Making the Tough Call on How Much to Disclose and To Whom,” ACI 37th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (December 2, 2020)
- Moderated, “Global Enforcement - National and Foreign Enforcement Measures,” Women in White Collar Defense Association – Brazil Chapter International Webinar on Leadership Legacy, Global Enforcement, and Perspectives (November 19, 2020)
- Co-presenter, “Perspectivas sobre o Combate à Corrupção no Brasil,” On the Ropes: Enforcement Risk Roundtable (October 15, 2020)
- Co-panelist, “Challenges and Opportunities: Views from the Defense Perspective,” Latin Lawyer – GIR 8th Anti-Corruption & Investigations Brazil (October 7, 2020)
- Co-presenter, “On the Ropes: Enforcement Risk Roundtable Introduction,” Ropes & Gray Podcast (October 6, 2020)
- Moderator, “Global Trends in International Tax Enforcement,” Cafecito con Ropes & Gray Virtual Roundtable Series (September 17, 2020)
- Co-panelist, “Anti-Corruption Issues When Doing Business in Latin America,” PLI Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments (September 2, 2020)
- Co-presenter, “Insiders' Perspectives on the Ins and Outs of the 2020 DOJ FCPA Guide: A Conversation with Ropes & Gray’s Anti-Corruption and International Risk Leaders,” Ropes & Gray Podcast (July 15, 2020)
- Co-panelist, “The Anti-Corruption Revolution in Latin America: The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning?” 2020 American Bar Association International Law Section Virtual Annual Meeting (June 29, 2020)
- Co-presenter, “Anticorrupção no Brasil: Uma Conversa com Autoridades do Ministério Público Federal e da Controladoria-Geral da União ,” Ropes & Gray Podcast (June 16, 2020)
- Moderator, “Data Privacy Concerns for Latin American Businesses,” Cafecito con Ropes & Gray Virtual Roundtable Series (June 10, 2020)
- Moderator, “Sanctions and Export Considerations for Suppliers of COVID-19 Relief Items to Latin American Jurisdictions,” Cafecito con Ropes & Gray Virtual Roundtable Series (May 27, 2020)
- Co-panelist, “Not Business as Usual, but Compliance as Usual in Latin America,” Cafecito con Ropes & Gray Virtual Roundtable Series (April 30, 2020)
- Co-panelist, “Impact of COVID-19 on Anti-Bribery Compliance,” TRACE Webinar (April 21, 2020)
- Co-panelist, “Crisis Management: Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Concerns for Latin America Businesses,” Cafecito con Ropes & Gray Virtual Roundtable Series (April 15, 2020)
- Panelist, “Key Considerations when Conducting Internal Investigations in Mexico: Attorney-Client Privilege, Access to Data and Acting on Findings,” TRACE International Anti-Bribery Workshop, Mexico City (February 27, 2020)
- Panelist, “Recent FCPA Investigations and Enforcement Actions Involving Conduct in Mexico,” TRACE International Anti-Bribery Workshop, Mexico City (February 27, 2020)
- Panelist, “Risk & Compliance Exchange – Latin America Interactive Session,” ACI 36th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (December 5, 2019)
- Panelist, “The Era of Corporate Governance,” Latin Lawyer – GIR 7th Annual Anti-Corruption & Investigations Brazil (October 17, 2019)
- Moderator, Ropes & Gray and FTI Consulting 4th Annual Women Leaders São Paulo Lunch Event (October 16, 2019)
- Panelist, “Recent FCPA Actions in Latin America: Compliance Lessons from Companies Operating in Mexico,” TRACE International Anti-Bribery Workshop, Mexico City (June 18, 2019)
- Moderator, Global Forum on Corporate Criminal Liability, Chantilly, France (March 7, 2019)
- Panelist, “New Trends in the Fight Against Corruption Through Multi-Jurisdictional Enforcement,” Mexico International Chamber of Commerce Session of the Anticorruption Commission (February 13, 2019)
- Panelist, “What to Do If Your Third Parties Are Under Suspicion: How Multinationals are Responding in Real Time to More Regional Developments,” ACI’s 35th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (November 28, 2018)
- Panelist, “Internal investigations of All Shapes and Sizes,” Latin Lawyer – GIR 6th Annual Anti-Corruption & Investigations Brazil (October 18, 2018)
- Panelist, Ropes & Gray and FTI Consulting São Paulo Women’s Event (October 17, 2018)
- Panelist, “How to Be On the Safe Side: New Compliance Challenges for Clients and Law Firms,” IBA Annual Conference Rome (October 11, 2018)
- Speaker, “Internal Investigations in Latin America,” TRACE International Webinar (October 10, 2018)
- Panelist, “Creating an Internal Culture of Risk Management,” Bloomberg Law: In-House Forum East (October 4, 2018)
- Moderator, “Managing Overlapping Exposure from Anti-Corruption, Economic Sanctions, AML & Cybercrime,” ACI Financial Crime Executive Roundtable (September 26, 2018)